The first cookbook published by a black woman, Mrs. Fisher’s Guide to Southern Cooking, was actually done in San Francisco in the 1880s. The same locale was the site of America’s first black bank in 1857.
Flush with tourism spending, the city hasn’t done a lot about his black heritage and until recently neither had its black entrepreneurs. One of the youngest restaurateurs in town had the bright idea in 2006 to create a downtown restaurant devoted to black farmers.
Since then, Farmer Brown has been an instant hit, drawing rave reviews in local print and broadcast media as well as national magazines. It’s located in the Hotel Metropolis in a building that is a century old, almost back to the era of Mrs. Fisher.
It is a model that can work in many cities around the country, particularly if you have more than a dozen black farmers in your area. Here, there is the Mo’Betta Farmers Market in Oakland, where Farmer Brown buys its produce, off such a small base.
However, the idea attracts broad appeal from all market segments. If you’re in the Bay Area for the Association of Black Psychiatrists meeting, it is a good place to dine.