Celebrate Black History Month & Support These Incredible Black-Owned Food Brands February 12, 2021
In honor of Black History Month, we’re highlighting 9 outstanding Black-owned food and beverage brands, plus some important resources that deserve the spotlight—this February and always.
The following list is by no means “the whole picture” of Black-owned and operated businesses and contributions to the culinary space, but it is a place to start. This month and always, it’s crucial to support these brands and others in a tangible way—i.e. with your wallet, stocking up on these delectable goodies with abandon. Once you’ve perused this list, we urge you to seek out Black-owned food businesses in your area (and do tell us what you find).
How do you find Black-owned restaurants near you to support? That’s exactly what EatOkra—a comprehensive, user-friendly Black-owned business directory app—was created for. Just download, sign up, and watch it populate! You’ll also find an extensive Marketplace feature where you can purchase pantry staples, from ketchup to soursop tea. You can check out local events near you, or peruse their Black History Month feature which highlights prominent Black inventors and innovators in the food industry.
Even if you’ve never gardened before, it’s tough to resist browsing the Seed Mail Seed Co site. After a few minutes of scrolling, you’ll be planning out your dream garden bursting with Texas Blue Bonnets, Cylindra Beets, Royalty Purple Pod Bush Beans, and Chubby Luffa Gourds. Lucky for us, founder Stefane believes anyone can acquire a green thumb. Plus, the heirloom seeds that Stefane has curated are as beautiful as they are affordable, making them widely accessible.
Looking to switch up your grain game? Fonio, a naturally gluten-free supergrain from West Africa, is, well, truly super. It’s low calorie, high in fiber and protein (12 grams per cup!), jam-packed with vitamins and amino acids, and cooks up in mere minutes. The results are impossibly light and fluffy, like quinoa got scrubbed with a plush hotel towel. Use fonio wherever you would rice or couscous, turn into a breakfast porridge (move over, oatmeal!), sub for breadcrumbs, and more. Yolélé also offers fonio pilafs inspired by classic West African flavors. Be sure to check out their site for all kinds of delicious suggestions on how to use our new fave grain.
Trade St. Jam Co
Fact: Trade St. Jam Co’s vibrantly-colored, vegan jams will make your taste buds happy. They’re handmade in small batches with minimal sugar and without pectin or preservatives. Each chef-crafted flavor combo is more inventive and mouthwatering than the next: Blueberry Lemon Basil, Smoked Peach, Plum & Rose, Strawberry Chipotle & Fig, Sour Cherry Ginger, and Blackberry Mulled Merlot. Shake into cocktails, use as a glaze for meats or veggies, stir into salad dressings, or drizzle over ice cream—you can’t go wrong.
For a quick and flavor-packed twist, use the Blueberry Lemon Basil or Blackberry Mulled Merlot in place of the homemade blueberry balsamic jam in #3 on this list of next-level grilled cheeses.
Founded by professional pastry chef Auzerais Bellamy, Blondery’s bite-size blondies are unlike any you’ve tasted before. With flavors like Pecan and Salted Caramel (the original, which Bellamy developed for 10 years!), Oreo-inspired Birthday Cake, Strawberry Rosé, and Brooklyn Blackout (which happens to be gluten free), it’s impossible to pick a favorite. Luckily, they offer beautifully-packaged variety boxes. Psst—don’t miss the amazing flavor descriptions on the site, like for the Cinnamon Sugar variety: “…imagine if Cinnamon Toast Crunch had an Amex and drove a Benz.” Enough said.
EssieSpice’s small-batch sauces and spice rubs are bursting with flavor. You can see (and taste!) founder Essie Bartels’ global influence, “spurred by her insatiable appetite for travel,” in all her unique blends. There’s Mekko Dry Rub with roasted ground peanuts, Mango Chili Medley with Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers, savory and fruity Coco-for-Garlic, and sweet and tangy TamarindOH. They’re perfect for marinating meats, spreading on sandwiches, pairing with cheese and crackers, or anything your heart desires.
Mix literally any of the EssieSpice sauces with this homemade mayo for a mind-blowingly delicious dipper.
Nigerian-born founder ‘Yemisi Awosan is serving up the flavors and ingredients of her childhood through these delectable soups and sauces. Egunsi Foods offers ready-to-eat soups that are delicious both hot and cold. In them, you’ll find classic West African ingredients like Egusi melon seeds, groundnuts, and Nigerian Honey browned-eyed peas. Simply heat and eat for a quick and easy meal, or use as simmering sauces.
McBride Sisters Collection
McBride Sisters Collection is the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States. The aforementioned sisters, Robin and Andrea, have been producing their superb wine since 2005. In addition to their namesake collection, they also have a Black Girl Magic collection and She Can canned wine and spritzers. According to their site, the “SHE CAN collection and it’s related SHE CAN Professional Development Fund, are inspired by the endless pursuit of all women who are making their dreams a reality and breaking barriers daily. And the Black Girl Magic collection, Robin and Andrea’s personal ode to their culture and story, is inspired by the magic and resilience of Black women, to be enjoyed by all.”
The National African American Male Wellness Agency
According to their site, “Since 2004, The National African American Male Wellness Agency (AAMWA 501- C3 charity) has taken a stance to reduce disparities in premature death and chronic diseases among African American (AA) males by providing over 4,000 free health screenings yearly and innovative health education programs.” They have core initiatives in Fatherhood, Financial Health, Health and Wellness, Mental Health, and Research.
Last year, their virtual “Cooking with Dads” event brought together hundreds of local Black fathers and their children in the Columbus, OH area for a free, interactive HelloFresh cooking demonstration. Check out photos from the event on Instagram.
Learn more and consider donating at https://aawellness.org/.
Follow along with our ongoing #HelloVoices series on Instagram, which amplifies important voices in the food industry.
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