Robert is Here celebrates 60 years

On Saturday, residents of Homestead and visitors attended the 60th anniversary celebration of Robert Is Here.

The family-owned fruit stand is known for its fruit shakes, smoothies, fresh produce and animal farm. It brought out vendors, food trucks, live music, family-friendly activities, a raffle, an obstacle course, and a dunk tank.

“Robert has been in this exact spot, this exact corner for 60 years, and it started as a one table fruit-stand selling cucumbers,” said Kaitlyn Hendry, the event organizer. “From a one-stand selling just cucumbers to what we created now, and so many different varieties of fruits, and a lot of customers and visitors from all different places, it’s amazing.”

Owner Robert Moehling said that the stars aligned just right.

“My dad was a farmer, I moved down here when I was a couple of months old in 1953, and his farming career down here didn’t go as smoothly as he wanted it to,” he said.

Moehling said his father was completely broke. He had no money to buy boxes to put the new harvest and their cucumbers in.

“It was 1959, I was six years old, so he put me out on a corner, since it was his farm here, right in the same spot, with a piece-supply which draped across four empty-field crates and cucumbers poured on top,” said Moehling. “I sat there all day long that Saturday, and nobody stopped. So they came and picked me up, I still had all the cucumbers and I explained to them that nobody stopped.”

Moehling said that the next morning, they got him up again and put him out there, with the same cucumbers, piled up high. But this time, his father brought two pieces of  hurricane shutters, and the shutters simply said spray painted on them, ‘Robert is here’ because he figured no one saw him there.

“With ‘Robert is here,’ there on each side of me, I ended up selling all my cucumbers and I walked home by about 1 p.m.”

Employee Qaasim Brown has worked with Moehling for three years.

“Working with Robert, is like I can’t even consider it work sometimes,” he said. “We have our serious moments, but it’s almost like when I go to work, I kind of just hang out with the boss and we just goof around most times.”

Brown said it’s one of those things where it’s like a father-son relationship.

“Since I started here, Robert just kind of adopted me in his own way and ever since, I’ve been with him. With him, it’s special,” he said.

Brown said a lot has changed just since he started.

“We had everything old-schooled with our registers, and now we’ve updated to new machines, new systems, trying to make everything more efficient.” he said, “I never thought we were going to have Apple Pay and now we do.”

“Same thing with the ice cream shop, there used to be just milkshakes and smoothies. Now with this season, we started to do Cuban sandwiches, turkey sandwiches and incorporating different things and testing the waters. We even started doing coffee this season which absolutely blew my mind, I was like ‘we’re not Starbucks, we are a fruit stand.’’

Davern Frazier said it was his first time at the stand.

“My girlfriend comes here a lot, she always tells me to come check it out. So its my first day off, and I’m here checking it out, and I love it!” Frazier said, “I met a guy and he came here all the way from Fort Lauderdale to just come out here and check it out. I feel bad about being so late-coming.”

And Cab Bentley, who came with his family said, that he’s known about the stand for a long time.

“We usually come here just to buy fresh produce, but today we got some kids and grandkids with us and they are enjoying the animals and goofing off,” he said.

Vanessa Maldonado is a senior broadcast journalism student at FIU. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Her passion for broadcast journalism began at the age of 10, when she realized she enjoyed writing and expressing herself. Vanessa looks forward to graduating and continuing her education into grad school.