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Move Over 'Robert Is Here' Fruit Stand, Rising Property Values Leading To Urbanization Of Farm Land

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida's iconic roadside fruit stand "Robert Is Here" has been operated by the Mohleling family since 1959. This 'must-visit' tourist attraction, where the milkshakes are a must, used to sit in the middle of South Miami-Dade's vast farmlands. Not anymore.

"At least 150 acres is being developed east of us," explained Heather Mohleling.

Construction across the street from the Robert is Here fruit stand. (CBS4)

Right across the street, apartments and condos are being built. This major construction taking place in the nearby field will bring an influx of residents.

But why it is happening?

"When the farmers do sell, property values are so high now in South Florida no one can buy that property to be able to farm. The only thing really can go on is housing," said Mohleling.

The Mohleling family has seen growers impacted by competition from Mexican growers due to the NAFTA trade agreement and the next generation of farm families not interested in farming.

"I want the community to know Robert is Here and we are here to stay," she said.

But it won't be without challenges and one of them evident on the corner of 192 Avenue and 344 Street where there is a lot of traffic and roads that have not been updated in decades.

Suanne Kitchar has a small patch of land where she raised herbs and vegetables for her restaurant.

"It's all the population that is gonna come that's gonna make it crazier than it already is. How can you go from farming to over population neighborhoods in one fell swoop?" she asked.

It'll be tough on worn, narrow roads and an intersection which is already packed.

"The roads have not been resurfaced in this area since the 1980's. Right now, the County Transportation Department has graded the roads, Palm Drive as a Grade Level F. There are plans to widen 344 Street but nothing beyond that," said Mohleling.

CBS4 reached out to the county commissioner who represents the area, but there was no response.

This is all about the changing face of South Dade agriculture where it appears the most profitable crop is building condos, not the vegetables and fruit from the years gone by.

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