TUO ZAAFI WITH AYOYO SOUP
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What: You might immediately think “citrus” when it comes to Florida fruit-growing, but beyond the big business of oranges and grapefruits and all those mail-order gift baskets available online, southeastern Florida is an ideal clime for tropical fruits like mango, mamey sapote, white guavas, papaya, jackfruit, guanabana, coconut, and more. Delicious on their own, and especially in milkshakes!
Where: We love the quirky, family-owned, 50-year-old Robert Is Here (19200 SW 344th St., map) in Homestead—about as far southeast as you can go in Florida, short of hitting the Keys—for several reasons, but most of all for the tropical fruits it grows and the delicious things it makes with them (milkshakes, jams). The sources of the produce on offer are clearly labeled, either grown on-site or on an area farm. The store is filled with other regional goodies like local hot sauce and alligator jerky, and boasts a little petting zoo in the backyard, framed by papaya trees.
Good to know: Though you can buy Florida citrus at Robert’s and via its website, the farm does not grow it—a citrus canker caused all the trees in that area to be cut down nearly a decade ago. Its citrus (and most of the state’s, in fact) comes from central Florida, near the Indian River.
When: November-August, daily, 8am-7pm (closed September and October)
Order: Whatever strikes your fancy as you wander the colorful, jam-packed store—we dare you to not be tantalized by the appetizing descriptions of exotic seasonal fruits you’ve probably never heard of before (sapodilla “tastes like a pear with brown sugar”; canistal is “like sweet and creamy egg custard” when ripe). But don’t miss the thick milkshakes ($5-$5.50), made with fresh fruits blended with ice milk (low-fat ice cream and yogurt); dairy-less smoothies are also available. During our visit, the local seasonal flavors include cantaloupe, mango, papaya, and chocolatey black sapote (pictured is the popular key lime milkshake with a banana-black sapote shake).
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