Native New Yorker Sue Moloney describes her parents as “both fantastic,” but she didn’t decide to follow their professional lead and become a teacher. “I wasn’t too keen on college, actually, studying costume construction and scuba diving. When I moved to Boston and needed to find an entry level job that didn’t require much skill or knowledge, I got worked in food service, like a small sandwich shop.”
Her epiphany came with a job at Boston’s famous and historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace. “That’s really where I learned to cook. I was mentored by great cooks, who taught me about ingredients and techniques, and also passed along their love of cooking.”
Subsequently, she and her husband travelled around the world for 20 months, visiting 17 different countries. Eating out is so inexpensive in many countries, that travelling on a budget isn’t that hard, and the eating experiences become part of the adventure. The one thing that you can’t indulge in is salad, because the raw ingredients may not be safe. When they got back to Connecticut, she was craving salad, and that’s when she developed her first tahini dressing.
“Friends of ours had moved to California and kept telling us to move too. I just wanted to stay put for a year, but then I was ready. Immediately after we got to Humboldt County, I became a forest activist and went to work for the Environmental Policy Information Center, which did legal work for environmental causes.”
In 2002 her commitment to saving the old-growth redwoods trees of Northern California prompted her to take the battle directly to then-governor Gray Davis, who was shirking a campaign promise to preserve the trees. A 52-day hunger strike under a towering old redwood beside the Capitol resulted in the Legislature finally agreeing to hold a hearing about a ban on cutting the old trees.
She became executive director of the Campaign for Old Growth, a grass-roots group leading a campaign to ban axing all trees more than 152 years old. "Cars are considered antiques at 20 years; homes can be registered as historic landmarks at 50," Moloney said. "How can a 150-year-old tree be considered of no historical value and allowed to be cut?"
Involvement in activism inevitably led to fundraising and Sue’s skills as a caterer for events were very sought after. “Of course, I made my tahini dressing, and people always wanted to know when I was going to make it for another event. I was even taken aside and asked, ‘Can you just make a quart for me?’ I felt like a salad dressing bootlegger,” she laughs.
With a lot of encouragement from her catering customers, she launched Sue’s Organics with her Tahini Dressing, later adding the Ginger Miso and Curry Dressings, as well as her Nutritional Feast Dipping Sauce. As her product line has grown, she is expanding her market beyond Humboldt County.
Sue practices what she preaches living a simple lifestyle in a yurt in a clearing in the redwoods. “Sue’s Organics are a direct outgrowth of my environmental values, the perfect balance of superb taste and sustainable, high life-vibrancy ingredients.”