Lawyers, hummus and sweet potatoes – Greensboro Farmers Curb Market

Greensboro Farmers Curb MarketThe day before Thanksgiving is a great day at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market .  A great day for sweet potatoes.

Greensboro’s Farmers Market was established in 1874 by the City of Greensboro which was then emerging from Reconstruction with a freshly vibrant economy. Greensboro’s mayor was Cyrus Mendenhall, brother of Guilford College’s Nereus Mendenhall.

Cyrus Mendenhall was one of a group of Greensboro lawyers (another was his friend, school mate and business partner, John Motley Morehead) who were at the time creating new civic, business and governmental institutions, one after another. Mendenhall was a lawyer, banker, insurer, manufacturer, cotton broker and an organizer (with Morehead and others) of the North Carolina Railroad. As Mayor of Greensboro, Mendenhall established North Carolina’s first graded schools, the Mayors Court (a precursor to later municipal courts), city streets and sanitation works, free vacinations for local citizens, and the City-owned farmers market.

Today, Greensboro’s Farmers Curb Market is among only a few tax-exempt farmers markets in the country. The IRS views most farmers markets as merely marketing arms of participating farmers, and refuses to find anything other than a private, for-profit purpose in them. But the Greensboro Market has been a municipal enterprise from its 1874 beginnings. When the Market was reorganized recently as a stand-alone organization, Brooks Pierce nonprofits lawyer Bob Saunders drew on this history (and his own legal prowess) to secure 501(c)(3) status for it. One of few.

So, yesterday I stood on tax-exempt ground, in search of sweet potatoes – and there appeared a recipe for sweet potato hummus. As if speaking to recent concerns, this one calls for chickpeas and sweet potatoes in equal measure. (Others may draw the geopolitical inferences.)

Russell and Jennifer Farlow of the Farmers Market and Farlow Farm in Archdale (2062 Ebenezer Church Road) advocate for this tax-free hummus. The verdict is not yet in from the test kitchens. Savory or sweet?

Chickpea/Sweet Potato Hummus

2 medium sweet potatoes (baked, peeled and cooled)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and briefly microwaved)
3 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of ½ lemon
Ground sea salt, to taste
1 ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (start with less, season to taste)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

Food processors, tools of synchronicity.

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