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Why iNatural? The Story Behind Our Food

Shirley Moon, co-founder of iNatural Catering, shares the story behind her inspiration for creating an all-natural catering company.

“It’s time to plant the garden.”

Growing up in Alabama, Shirley Moon saw her grandmother prepare to plant the garden each spring. While others headed to the local feed and seed store, Shirley remembers her grandmother receiving seeds in the mail instead.

The difference? Her grandmother used only organic seeds in her garden, which were not available locally.

Mary Eallie’s forward-thinking was not limited to seed varieties — she extended her all-natural philosophy to cover every aspect of life. Ms. Eallie, like many of her rural neighbors, kept chickens and ducks. Unlike her neighbors, Ms. Eallie fed them only corn she grew herself from organic seeds. She let her fields lie fallow every seventh year to allow the soil to rest. Her plants and livestock were all raised without chemicals from organic sources. She even made her own castile and lye soaps.

“It was about more than just the food,” Shirley recalls. Ms. Eallie had been a great believer in the natural order of things, in breathing fresh air and approaching life with a generous attitude. She believed in taking exercise, speaking positively, and respecting the needs of the earth. She viewed natural, organic food as a single piece in the larger puzzle that forms a healthy, balanced life. It was only in college that Shirley realized not everyone shared her grandmother’s philosophy of holistic, all-natural living.

“All my life, I had gone to the grocery store and read the labels to avoid buying anything with chemicals or preservatives added. From the time I was young, we avoided artificial ingredients. I was surprised to find many of my classmates did not do that.”

Though Ms. Eallie passed away twenty years ago, Shirley continues to live the values instilled in her by her grandmother’s example. When she and her husband, Forriss Elliott, were both downsized from corporate America within a few months of each other, they looked to their passions and talents for the next step. Forriss, his father a part of the 1960’s natural movement, was also accustomed to eating organic foods. For Shirley and Forriss, their established habits led to the formation of a catering company dedicated to providing affordable food free from additives.

Like Shirley’s grandmother, iNatural believes fresh, pure foods are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. We are proud to carry on the tradition of Ms. Mary Eallie in preparing wholesome, delicious, and all-natural dishes. For us, natural foods are more than a business — they are a passion and a way of life.

Make Ms. Mary Eallie's Recipe: Sauteed Garden Fresh Collard Greens

Ms. Mary Eallie’s Sauteed Garden Fresh Collard Greens

1 Fresh Bunch of Collard Greens chopped in 2″ x 2″ pieces
1 Diced Med Yellow or White Onion
1 Med Diced Red Bell Pepper
1/8 cup Olive Oil
1/8 cup Butter
2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme
2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic Sea Salt to Taste

1. In a large wok, sauté pan, or dutch oven (cast iron works great!) put 1/8 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup butter on medium high heat (approximately 350 degrees). When oil is hot, but not smoking, add sea salt, granulated garlic, thyme, half of the diced onions, and half of the diced red bell pepper.

2. Stir quickly and add 1/3 of the chopped collard greens to the oil and herb mixture. Maintain sautéing temperature for skillet. Toss greens until bright green and slightly wilted, approximately 1 minute. Add another 1/3 of the collard greens to the skillet. Stir and toss until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/3 collard greens and remaining onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Stir until wilted and bright green, approximately 3 minutes. When all greens are added to the dutch oven or other pan maintain sautéing temperature. Stir and toss continuously for about 15 more minutes, adding additional oil and seasoning if needed.

3. Cover dish with a top for an additional 5 minutes. Remove top and sample. (The consistency should be that of sautéed cabbage). If desired, sauté a little longer in the skillet an additional 5 minutes, stirring continuously. You will have nice tender collard greens — just like Ms. Eallie!

This has been Olivia, the iNatural blogger. I hope you’ve enjoyed the story of the inspiration behind iNatural Catering! If you have your own story about your introduction to healthy living, please share it with us in the comments section below.

Be sure to visit the iNatural Catering blog again for updates about the company, the green eating scene in Atlanta, and advice on how to keep your diet free of chemicals and preservatives. We welcome feedback! Contact us by leaving a comment below, emailing us at info@inaturalcatering.com, or using our contact form.


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