Strolling through the Hillcrest Farmers Market, one vendor stands out among the vibrant colors of bountiful booths. Barry Koral is six foot plus, wears a large straw sun hat and frequently dons a colorful Hawaiian shirt. Beyond the visual, his pronounced voice penetrates the hubbub of the market with timely offers of avocados, Meyer lemons, guava and persimmons interspersed with sage advice. Drawn to the booth for his addictively good fruit as well as powerfully energetic personality, I make the pilgrimage almost every Sunday. When he first spoke about how his food is alive and full of nutrients, I recognized the glint in his eye as that of a raw food aficionado.
My first exposure to live foods was in 1981 when my wife Barbara visited the Hippocrates Institute in Coldwater Michigan to pursue a cure for the cancer she faced. Ultimately, the illness was not overcome, but the experience kick-started her healing journey holistically in body, mind and spirit. The experience was both enlightening and invigorating and, since then, I have incorporated elements of live foods into my own diet and food preparation. A prominent symptom of a seasoned live food devotee is an incredible energy level and the same glint in the eye that I see when Barry speaks.
Short of doing a proper interview, Barry was kind enough to share the article below which paints a beautiful picture of his contribution to the community. Meeting him has been a privilege and those fleeting moments of exposure to his good present energy adds momentum to my week. He helps people connect to the life energies inherent in the earth, often without them having any idea of what is going on. Souls such as he, help the rest of us understand how to live and breath with the earth, as well as utilize the readily available bounty to increase the quality of our existence. An example worth following and fruit worth eating!
This is the article Barry shared with me:
Barry likes to express himself through drawing and poetry. I mention to him that I’m fond of his musings and wish to include some samples on my community service website. He happily responds by saying, “You rock my world.” It’s a nice compliment, and it sets me wondering about his way of moving through the world.
For instance, I discover that Barry has a wealth of timely information to share about life, especially concerning his passion for what he terms the “art of living”. In a few days, I’m invited back to his digs, with a close woman friend. This interview is the result of my wishing to know more about the life of this multi-talented artist and health enthusiast.
Amidst a plethora of one hundred seventy five fruit trees, a small art studio, sauna, hot tub, and an assortment of foraged American folk art, I learn more details about the property as Barry bares his soul about how all this came to pass. Mr. Natural, as I call him, confides that his sanctuary is a dream come true. Barry’s purring cat wholeheartedly agrees, and indeed, this attractively designed spacious environ fits the bill. This pearl in an oyster of a location is perfect for personal growth.
Surveying the property reveals that the trees are filled with tremendous life force. Barry surrounds everyone with a ring of rocks gathered from his worldwide travels. Each is a souvenir of his experiences in far away places. The rocks add minerals to the soil, help to retain moisture around the trees, and create a continual flow of energy, reflecting the endless cycles of nature.
One important thing to consider is natural symbiosis, which incorporates efficient homestead design. At its best, this is an evolving adventure into appropriate sustainable lifestyles. The key theme here, as it relates to Barry’s semi-rural lifestyle, is optimization. For example, a pilgrimage to a sacred earthen lair on one corner of the property, dubbed Mount Compost, is the home of a plethora of wriggling earthworms, as well as a lively assortment of microbes – beneficial for both humans and the biosphere. Here is a tidbit of information that most urbanites and suburbanites aren’t even aware of: one centimeter of soil contains as many as one billion microbes!
Much of the planet’s soil is lacking in essential nutrients, such as trace minerals. In an attempt to remedy this, Barry takes care to add specific life-enriching elements to his trees. Mineralized rock dust and compost applied around the base of the trees can greatly enhance crop yields, while maintaining Gaia equipoise. The pleasure is in reaping delectable results. Barry comments: “Watering, composting, pruning, brush removal, leaf raking, and adding more mulch to the soil are really vital to balanced growth and renewal.”
Barry has taken great care to plant very special varieties of exotic subtropical fruit trees. He and his co-workers carefully select the finest, most delectable ripe fruit from his orchard to sell, and the rest is shared among friends or returned to Mother Earth as compost. As a result, his fruits are distributed in various parts of the U.S. and abroad. His French customers, for instance, have access to the finest produce in the world. Barry is honored to be selected as one of their providers.
Barry supports and stimulates the organic food economy. This helps to promote local self-sufficiency and the health of bioregions across the planet. As part of this initiative, every week, he loads large crates of fruit into his van, and drives the produce to the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, where it is displayed in attractive hand woven baskets. He covers the tables with brightly colored tapestries, and puts calligraphic signs in the baskets, each adorned with his creative designs.
Yet this is only the beginning! What would the show be without Barry? Wishing to see for ourselves, a friend and I accompany him on a Sunday excursion to the market. It’s really quite a lively affair. We discover that Barry is among the most vocal of entrepreneurs, entreating potential customers to procure his exotic produce, while educating them about the preparation and nutritional value of the succulent varieties he offers.
There is a constant flow of visitors to his booth. Many wish to know more about the attributes of the exotic fruits displayed. They ask him such key questions as: What is a cherimoya? When is it ripe? How can you tell which one is the sweetest? Do you refrigerate it? What are the best ways to prepare it? Can you eat the seeds? Besides this basic knowledge, there is still much more to fathom about each and every fruit.
For those truly wishing to be in harmony with both themselves and Mother Earth, the ideal of tailoring one’s lifestyle to seasonal changes is a key aspect to creating and maintaining good health. As an example: ancient Chinese Taoists as well as contemporary ones have recommended eating foods that ripen according to nature’s own rhythmic cycles. Barry adheres to this as it relates to planting and reaping, as well as marketing his produce.
After returning from the market, we get to experience this firsthand as Barry shares more delectable fruits. As always, natural food experience is the best educator. To appease our appetites, we delve into large servings of one of Barry’s favorite fruit compotes, which he refers to as “Holiday Fruit Salad”. Such delicacies as tangerines, papaya, blood oranges, sapotes, and persimmons, garnished with liberal portions of shredded coconut, contribute to the delicious sweet flavor.
Somehow Koral’s Tropical Fruit Farm reminds me a bit of Findhorn; how those with agricultural acumen work closely with Mother Nature, and she responds with a lavish cornucopia of abundant blessings. Concerning the ease by which crops thrive, Barry smiles. His face gradually lights up like a candelabra. It seems that Jack in the Beanstalk might even be a bit jealous at the farm’s natural splendor.
In a bit of a whisper, Barry shares this tidbit of wisdom about his success: “I plant a seed or a tree, and everything pretty much grows wild. I’m a fruit farmer rather than a crop farmer. I choose this lifestyle because I love fruit, the beneficial effects it has on my body, and what I can offer the world through distributing very high quality organic foods. The demand for high quality organic food is tremendous. My initial vision was to be able to take control over my food source and to supply high quality nutrients so necessary for optimum health. I have succeeded.”
As our interview progresses, I am able to gain a better understanding of his present lifestyle. The results are surprising. After all, not everyone has created their own ecological niche as he has. Barry recommends that each person’s home become a mini-holistic health center. He considers his home on the range to be much more than just a place to hang his cowboy hat and commune with the neighborhood coyotes. His cat ChaCha wholeheartedly agrees!
There are more miracles to be experienced by consuming more fresh produce on a daily basis. Barry points out that every seven years, all the cells of the human body transform. The process of cellular regeneration, i.e., the re-genesis program of rejuvenation is accelerated by adherence to live food dietary regimens. He endorses models of true sustainability, which include natural boons such as composting, recycling, and everything organic. He says, “Healthy soil is the foundation for sustainable agriculture. I spent three years preparing the soil before I even planted a tree. My goal is to create a model of sustainability for the benefit of present and future generations. We’re all one, and we’re all connected, no matter what part of the earth we’re on.”
Barry travels widely and lectures about the importance of living and eating as close to Mother Nature as possible. His poetry also reflects his passion for the art of living, which he considers a pure fruit of the imagination, realized during moments of stillness. Barry says that “Writing poetry is one of the many ways I express my appreciation for artful living. Over the years, my life has become much more of an interpretive, creatively satisfying experience.” An example of his original style is witnessed in his poem:
A mere glimpse into the higher realms of living
At one with all creation
Envelopes us during sacred moments
A quieting of all inner and outer sensations
Stills the mind to receive from a higher Source
Awakening while living in the physical
Opens receptive hearts
To the unfolding of flowering beauty all around
This simple landscape reveals an attunement
That allows the soul to reawaken at any moment
To the splendid privilege of being alive
In this wondrous universe
It’s important to note that the physical aspects of healthy living are vital to being well-grounded in our core connection to nature. Barry robustly intones, “Health ultimately comes through being more in harmony with our bodies. This is the natural result of cultivating lifestyles based on positive thinking, and eating a wide variety of vibrant living foods fresh from nature.”
As I reflect on his sentiments, Barry offers more sagely wisdom by stating:
“Communing with Mother Earth is a great rejuvenating tonic. In-depth peace
is my goal. I really enjoy being at my sanctuary. My most favorite thing about the orchard is that I can walk up to the trees and harvest lunch.”
And for those who really love high quality produce, the following fruits can be shipped by FedEx or UPS Ground. Here is the general timetable:
Cherimoyas: November through May
White Sapotes: July through April
Pomegranates: November through January
Persimmons: September through January
Figs: July through September
Passion Fruit: Year round
Fuerte: February through April
Haas: March through December
Mexicola: August through October
Nabal: October through May
Pinkerton: April through August
Reed: April through June
Please call Barry at 760-631-0200 (Office) or 760-455-1261 (Cell) to initiate purchase orders. Email: email@example.com.
For those interested in reading more of Barry’s poetic musings, consider logging onto www.sacredimagery.com.
Loren Lewisohn is an eco-adventurer who specializes in international travel, which incorporates bio-regional analysis and the promotion of themes relating to paradigm shift. His websites may be accessed at www.sacredimagery.com and www.ecoarts.orz.