Best Farmers Market (2006)

Robert Is Here

An estimated half of our nation's tomatoes come from Florida. Many are shipped from fields in the Redland's agricultural area less than an hour outside downtown Miami. Yet even in peak season, most supermarket specimens (including those at expensive specialty stores like Epicure) are ethylene-injected, semigreen things that are hard and tasteless. You might as well eat a baseball. Try this stand's produce instead. Most people discover Robert Is Here because it is located on the road leading to the main gate of Everglades National Park. The story: Six-year-old Robert Moehling Jr.'s farmer-father stuck him on the roadside with a table of surplus cucumbers. The first day, there were no sales because the youngster was not visible above car windows. The next day, armed with large signs reading "Robert Is Here" painted on hurricane shutters, he sold out by 11:00 a.m. Roughly 45 years later, Robert is still here (when not working the farm), as are genuinely red-ripe tomatoes and a host of South Florida's other mainstream crops. You will also find an array of weird and exotic tropical produce: Monstera deliciosa, black sapote, anon (sugar apple), canistel (egg fruit), et cetera. In addition he sells locally produced jams, sauces, and flavored honeys. Children love the giant tortoises and iguanas in Robert's minizoo out back. And everyone loves Robert's thick milkshakes, made from key limes, strawberries, or whatever else is in season.


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