In 1959, on a sunny Saturday outside Homestead, Florida, Robert Moehling’s father—a broke farmer who couldn’t afford to buy boxes for his latest harvest—dumped his surplus cucumbers on the side of the road. He tasked his six-year-old son to sell them. All day, young Robert waited by the side of the road, but the cars speeding past took no notice. To draw attention to the operation, his father spray-painted a message on a hurricane shutter and placed it beside the cucumbers: “Robert is Here.”
More than 60 years later, that statement remains true, but what was once a makeshift stand is now the Disney World of tropical fruit. Just off US 1, this kitschy, massive shop features produce, jams, souvenirs, animals (including goats, emu, iguanas, birds, and a petting zoo), a picnic area, and live music on the weekends. The barn-like emporium has become a local landmark for those visiting the Everglades or traveling the long stretch of highway to Key West and the Florida Turnpike. Robert, now well into his 60s, still works there alongside his immediate family.
Robert grows many of his offerings across 55 acres of farmland (and when he runs out, he’ll sell local farmers’ produce). The stand boasts dozens of unique fruit varieties—everything from egg fruit to dragonfruit, Monstera Deliciosa to sugar apples. Signs are posted around the store with whimsical descriptions of each product, such as soursop, which is described as tasting similar to “pineapple cotton candy.” Those looking for a souvenir statement piece can leave with an 80-pound jackfruit during the summer season.
But Robert is Here has an even more beloved offering—milkshakes made from fresh fruit, whole milk, low-fat yogurt, and soft serve ice cream. Flavors such as strawberry key lime, soursop, and strawberry with egg fruit (Robert’s favorite) are so popular that customers have been known to wait for more than an hour to get their hands on one. Around 500 visitors sip Robert’s refreshing blends each day. During peak season, that number rises to around 1,400.
On any given day, you can find Robert smiling as he slices up exotic flora at the counter. When you’re ready to check out, he’ll total your bill on a paper bag—computers were never his style.