"" Writer's Wanderings: Florida's Exotic Fruit - The Canistel

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Florida's Exotic Fruit - The Canistel

If you'd like to experience some of Florida's best fresh produce, the place to visit is Robert Is Here. The fruit stand started out in 1959 on the corner of SW 344th St. and SW 192nd Ave in Homestead, FL, when six year old Robert was set out on the corner by his father and asked to sell cucumbers one Saturday. No one stopped. So Robert's father made a sign, "Robert is here!" and placed it on either end of the table the next day.

Robert sold all of his cucumbers by noon. The fruit stand began to grow as local farmers brought more produce for Robert to sell. Eventually as Robert grew so did his expertise in farming and his investment in land as well as exotic fruits. You can read about it here.

The fruit stand is full of seasonal as well as year-round fruits and produce. Much of it comes from Robert's farm. Those who work in the stand, are all knowledgeable about every kind of unusual fruit. We purchased two different varieties of oranges, a mango, and two fruits we'd never seen before but looked intriguing--a Canistel (egg fruit) and a Sapote (black).

The helpful lady who checked us out told us how to tell when the fruit was ready to eat and how to eat it. The Canistel was ready in a couple of days. We had to wash it, set it out on a dish and when it was very soft to the touch, it was ready to eat. The information said it tasted like egg custard but I thought it tasted more like an apple/banana/mango custard. Tasty but very rich like a custard would be. Inside there were three very large seeds but the flesh around them was very soft.

Our Sapote is still ripening. We were told it would take about a week and a half to turn completely black which would indicate it would be ready to eat. It's supposed to taste a little like chocolate pudding. I'll let you know.

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