Here in Houston, the organizers of Houston Black Restaurant Week (HBRW) have been extremely active spreading the word about the Black culinary industry in Houston, and recently announced the kickoff of its first annual Fall series, called ‘Harvest the Block’.
Black Restaurant Week has become an extremely popular and important cultural phenomenon here in the United States in recent years, primarily through its commitment to educating people about and bringing awareness of the Black culinary industry here in America. Using a combination model of awareness and education events, Black Restaurant Week aims to stimulate growth of African American and African-owned culinary businesses and farms across the United States. To achieve its mission of growth in the culinary industry, Black Restaurant Week aims to create experiences that will cater to a diverse culture of tastemakers, professionals, and area foodies looking for exposure to delicious food and exquisite wines.
Starting Friday, Nov. 4 through Sunday, Nov. 6, HBRW will kick off their inaugural ‘Harvest the Block’ fall festival in Houston, with an emphasis on highlighting Texas’ Black farmers and the local farm-to-table cycle. Across the U.S., African American farmers make up less than two percent of the nation’s agricultural community, and only account for less than 1 percent of total agricultural sales. Through this inaugural affair, ‘Harvest the Block’ aims to stimulate growth between Black-owned farms and the local Houston economy.
“It is important that we tell the Black farmers’ story. They’re an integral part of our community and the culinary cycle,” explains Warren Luckett, Houston Black Restaurant Week’s Chair.
“Through our fall series, we hope to showcase their work and create an ongoing relationship between farmers and the local community.”
The three-day event commences on Friday, Nov. 4, with ‘Kitchen Konversations: Cooking Experience’, a culinary demonstration at the grand opening of Etta’s Table, led by Chef Shakti Baum. Utilizing produce from featured HBRW farmers, the interactive experience will afford guests the opportunity to learn how to prepare a Mediterranean meal and old fashion cocktails. Guests will then be given the opportunity to dine with a three course, farm-to-table meal.
On Saturday, Nov. 5, the ‘Harvest the Block’ fall street festival will begin with a classic farmer’s market, and end with community-centric block party in Houston’s historic Third Ward neighborhood. This family-friendly event will showcase Black-owned farmers’ fall harvest, along with health and wellness screenings, gardening classes and a bevy of children’s activities.
HBRW’s inaugural partnership with UberEats also provides mobile produce delivery from the farmer’s market. Using the UberEats app, Houstonians will be able to “harvest the block” from the comfort of their home, by having a pre-arranged produce basket delivered to their doorstep.
The afternoon will continue with a heated food challenge, which will be a battle to determine who truly runs the block. DJ Big Reeks and DJ Shanté will provide sounds for the afternoon, while local sports bar, Prospect Park, will sponsor a pop-up bar stocked with cocktails available for purchase. Patrons can sample bites from various culinary vendors (Cajun, barbecue, food trucks, desserts, and more), where they can then cast their vote for the best of the block.
The weekend will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 6, with a Reunion Community Dinner presented by UPS at the Blue Triangle Community Center. The historical landmark serves as the beneficiary for a portion of the weekend’s proceeds.
Blue Triangle, formally the first branch of Houston’s YWCA, was founded during World War I. The organization grew out of the pressing need for a central meeting place where women and girls of color could safely meet, learn, and recreate. The center has a long history of providing programs and activities for children and adults including daycare, bible class, art, drama, and dance classes for the Houston community. The location was certified as a Texas Registered Historical Site in May 2002 and continues its legacy to thrive as an asset to the Third Ward Community. The night’s festivities will be inspired after Blue Triangle’s past time, with an annual dinner which will connect members of the community with one another through fare and fellowship. Chefs Yolanda Henry and Javani King will continue the storied tradition, by preparing a family-style feast utilizing select ingredients from local farmers.
Proceeds from the ‘Harvest the Block’ fall series will benefit the renovation of the Blue Triangle communal kitchen. For more information about ‘Harvest the Block’, please visit https://houbrw.com/, or contact the event coordinators at email@example.com.