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Member Spotlight
Diane Ligon, New York City, NY

As fruit growers, our members naturally consume a lot of fruit — fruit that they grow on their own farms, and also fruit from other sources, supporting each other in the process. However, one OFGA member says she feels best when she eats 100% raw fruit and lettuce, usually only having one fruit at a time, sometimes adding lettuce. For her, fruit is a daily need, year round, and it has been since she has started this diet in January of 2011.

Diane Ligon walks long distances regularly, just like those of us living on the farm. She often walks four miles each way to visit her uncle. She enjoys walking whenever possible and sometimes takes longer hikes with friends or meetup groups. But she is not a grower herself, and her home is in Manhattan, the most densely populated borough of New York City, where finding high-quality fruit can be a challenge.

When Diane goes shopping for fruit, she looks for fruit that is heavy for its size, has a sweet fragrant smell indicating its ripeness, and she says a deeper color can be a good sign as well. Unlike many shoppers, she is not fooled by the picture-perfect produce that is often displayed on the shelves but has no taste and lacks nutrition. She does not mind blemished fruit, but it is getting difficult to find good, ripe fruit. As we all have experienced, stores often sell fruit that was picked too early to ever ripen properly; there is too much time between it being picked and made available for the customer.

To start solving this problem, Diane was able to connect directly with farmers and order small to large quantities depending on availability and how much she liked a particular batch of fruit. Diane’s current diet includes sweet fruits, sub-acid fruits, and acid fruits, usually on their own. She loves papayas, mangos, berries, stone fruits, cherimoyas, sugar apples, melons, pineapples, tangerines, and oranges. She is usually able to get apples, pears, and bananas locally, but she is interested in everything else that she saw other OFGA members grow: strawberries, blueberries, aronia, elderberries, honeyberries, juneberries, peaches, plums, cherries, grapes. She also eats lettuce regularly which has more minerals than fruit does, but only occasionally has the higher fat fruit of avocados. When she combines the different raw foods she eats, she makes sure to choose fruits that combine well with each other, to ensure easy digestion. Otherwise, digestive and other symptoms (such as fatigue) can show up.

Even when fruits are combined properly, many people question whether a fruitarian diet like Diane’s can provide enough nutrition. She knows that this lifestyle is not for everyone, but after trying many different regimens, she has found that it works for her. At age 60, she is not taking any prescription medications, she is close to her ideal weight, she is able to walk and do moderate exercise such as yoga and Pilates at home, and when she has reactions to certain chemicals she is very sensitive to, she is able to recover more quickly now than previously. When Diane changed to this all raw diet, her asthma improved immediately. She lost 90 pounds in the first year while eating as much as she wanted and always felt completely satisfied. After a year and a half, her thyroid levels were all normal with one exception. Her TSH was still a little high at 5.19 mU/L, but it previously was 16.23 mU/L!

Since she generally feels well and stays healthy on a fruit-only diet, lack of good fruit where she lives is the only thing that makes it difficult for her to follow this lifestyle. She would love to connect with other members and order food directly, if it is possible, even if not year round. She can be reached through the OFGA coordinator, and would love to hear from you this season.

If you are interested in connecting with Diane, please know that she is mainly looking for organic produce or produce from farms that use IPM tools.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Diane would like to work with growers who communicate well (availability, shipping information), so she could plan her weekly shopping;

  • She understands that even if she is a fruitarian, she is only one individual, so she cannot place huge orders, but she wants to make sure the relationship is financially worthwhile for the growers;

  • Before she commits to ordering regularly, she would like to do a test shipment to ensure that adequate packaging can protect the fruit;

  • She does not ask for a refund if any or all the produce arrives in bad shape, she understands the difficulties (but might not continue ordering);

  • She knows that berries would have to be overnighted and she is willing to pay for that;

  • She knows that ideally, produce should be sold locally, and appreciates all that organic fruit growers do, even if they are not set up to ship to her.

Thank you for reading Diane’s story and I hope many of you will connect with her!

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