HOMESTEAD — Visiting Robert Is Here, a funky Florida fruit just outside Everglades National Park, is a tradition in my family. We love visiting the Florida Everglades, and every outing must start with a milk shake at Robert Is Here.
But there is more to Robert Is Here than that. In fact, here are six reasons it’s worth making a stop at this funky Homestead produce market.
1. Robert is Here has delicious and exotic fresh fruit milkshakes
My family started stopping at Robert is Here in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew’s destruction brought me to Homestead repeatedly as part of my work for the Sun Sentinel. Back then, the head of the Salvation Army relief operation brought me to Robert is Here to try the mouth-puckering key lime shakes, which are a Robert-Is-Here classic, but are too tart for many. Over the years, I’ve discovered there are so many marvelous combinations involving my favorites, coconut, strawberries and passion fruit. On a recent visit, we were tempted by the exotic: canistel mango shakes, a black sapote banana shake. The “special” ingredients also include dragon fruit, guava, jackfruit, mamey, mango and sapodilla.
The milk shakes are made to order with fresh fruit, and at busy times, you’ll stand in line, place your order and wait for your number to be called. The milkshake operation is well-staffed and very efficient; the line moves fast. (We love that the milkshakes are served in biodegradable, corn-based plastic cups.)
In the 2023 winter season, milkshakes are $10. The milkshakes can be ordered milk-free as smoothies.
2. Taste samples of exotic fruits
It’s fine that you have to wait for that milk shake because you’ll want to soak up the ambiance of this fruit stand, not to mention the samples of free exotic fruits scattered throughout — from the scary looking Monstera Deliciosa (looks like a pale green banana with lizard-like scales) to lychees and persimmon and kumquat. What’s available varies by season, but there’s always something to try.
3. Meet the tortoises, emus and other animals at Robert Is Here
There’s more to Robert Is Here than the flowers, fruit stand and milk shakes. Out back there all sorts of animals. The stars are the huge rock-like tortoises with legs as sturdy as tree trunks. The tortoises share a cage with a few goats and on a recent visit, we watched a goat play king of the mountain on a tortoise’s back. He stayed there, shakily keeping his balance as the tortoise lumbered on. We figure to the goats, this is surfing. Over the years, the variety of animals has increased and this alone is worth a stop for animal lovers and families with children.
Recently Robert Is Here added a large aviary for its many colorful birds.
4. Hear music and see antique cars.
From November to March, there’s live music on weekend afternoons from Charlie Rathburn and Too Old Sea Dogs. It’s all free, including peeks at the Model A Ford and 1913 Detroiter.
Behind the fruit stand around the animal area, a dozen or so antique tractors are also displayed.
5. Have a BBQ lunch (on weekends)
Recently, Dickson Smokehouse food truck began operating out of a Robert Is Here every weekend, with a menu that ranges from hotdogs ($5) to BBQ chicken ($12) to pulled pork ($12) and ribs ($18.)
Robert is Here has added lots of covered outdoor seating nearby, making this a good place for lunch or dinner on your way in and out of Everglades National Park.
6. There is a Robert and he IS here.
Robert Is Here was founded more than 50 years ago, and has a wonderful story.
At age 6, Robert Moehling’s parents set him up to sell cucumbers on that corner. First day, nobody bought them. His dad figured nobody saw the little boy, so he made a sign: Robert Is Here. From that day on, Robert was in business.
Most times we visit, Robert is here, weighing fruit, ringing up purchases. His family business has been a key member of the agriculture-related businesses who formed the historic Redland Tropical Trail
Robert Is Here
19200 SW 344th St, Florida City, FL 33034
Robert Is Here is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily but closes in September and October. It’s about 10 minutes off the U.S. 1 route at the corner of Palm Drive/SW 344th Street and Tower Road. Just follow the sign for Everglades National Park.
What’s near Robert Is Here?
Everglades National Park, of course, is nearby and a key destination. Here’s a Florida Rambler guide filled with useful visitor tips. We advise that there’s an excellent visitor’s center and if you want to see wildlife, take the Anhinga Trail, which is four miles beyond the visitor’s center. Beyond that, there are many excellent places to hike and paddle, as well as a great boat tour on Florida Bay at the end of the road in Flamingo.
There’s a unique park in Homestead that showcases trees and other plants that produce edible fruits and nuts. Here’s a Florida Rambler story on Fruit and Spice Park.
The Redland rural area near the Everglades is full of interesting places to visit and tasty experiences, including Schnebly Redland’s Winery plus strawberry farms and a historic railroad village. This is a guide to the Redland region.
Knaus Berry Farm, for strawberry milks shakes and Florida’s best cinnamon rolls, in Homestead.
One of the strangest places in South Florida is Coral Castle. Here from Florida Rambler are 15 things to amaze you at this mysterious ‘work of art’ in Homestead
Lodging: There is camping in Everglades National Park and ecotents at Flamingo, which don’t require camping gear. Here’s our story: Eco-tents in Flamingo: Glamping in Everglades National Park. I hear good things about the inexpensive Hoosville Hostel.
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.