Thursday, August 28, 2014

Robert Is Here

I suffer from a certain reluctance to openly enjoy certain pleasures that are, how can I put this? - too well known. Sometimes attractions become so attractive they lose the intrinsic value that made them well known in the first place and this fruit stand in Florida City should be one of those.

But it's not. I like stopping off here any chance I get, and apparently I am not alone. Last weekend the place was packed...

....despite desperate heat and rain showers laying down a nice thick blanket of humidity. There is no air conditioning here, this is Old Florida. I don't mind the heat and humidity but I hear constant complaints about it. Better here than a hundred and twenty in the desert or a hundred and windy in the Great Plains. Or 38 in Fairbanks. If you live in South Florida enjoy it and refresh yourself with air conditioning.

I look at these kinds of family industries and I wonder what it must be like to have a built-in career already mapped out for you. Half a century of selling fruit and vegetables.

And it is an industry. Trip Advisor shows 216 reviews of this place that they put in Homestead but the fruit stand itself claims to be in neighboring (and much smaller) Florida City.

If one wanted to split hairs it's actually kitty corner from Florida City which has it's western boundary across the street in the picture below, but Homestead is further away to the east. Robert's is actually in unincorporated Dade County as far as I can tell.

However Homestead is the catch all city for the agricultural area south of Miami so I guess it will do for those less pedantic than myself.

To get here turn west on Palm Avenue, which is the traffic light at the Shell station just south of the last Turnpike Exit and keep going west. Or follow the brown signs for Everglades National Park and Flamingo. Picnickers welcome.

One of my several pleasures living in South Florida is access to fresh tropical fruit. I enjoy soursop ice cream at Flamingo Crossing in Key West and here my wife went for the same flavor, known to Spanish speakers as guanabana, a thick creamy vanilla with a hint of tropical perfume. I love the stuff but the seven dollar styrofoam (really, still using non recyclable containers?) cup had us both full to bursting.

This place is more than a fruit stand or a vegetable market. It's also a playground because like I said in the opening this is now a proper tourist attraction. And parents won't come for milk shakes if kids can't do whatever it is small people do on a Saturday afternoon.

Let me be blunt: I don't like goat cheese because it smells like goat and these animals were rank.

My dog was perfect, not smelly and not noisy and certainly not undisciplined or rambunctious. I think she spent a lot of time with agitated small children in her previous life because she wants nothing to do with them now.

We walked out of there post haste. This road is part of the network of straight flat paved links connecting the fields and farms in the hinterland of what was once Everglades swamp. There is a winery out there, and it's on my list for this winter.

And we got in just under the wire at the fruit stand, as next week they close for two months. This is a sign of how peaceful the next eight weeks should be, an interlude in South Florida before snow storms start pushing people south.

Oddly enough I came across a dumpster filled with produce boxes from all over the place. Who knew Mississippi exported sweet potatoes?

Well worth a stop. It's less than ten minutes from the end of the turnpike. A soursop smoothie makes the whole weekend go sweeter.