36 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Strawberry picking still good, but also challenging!
Weekday discounts in effect!
(see below for details)
Something new at the orchard -- excellent quality Nicaraguan coffee -- more information below about my family's involvement where it is grown.
Tuesday morning, April 28, 2015, 8:20 a.m.
Summer yesterday....winter today! Yesterday customers were beginning to complain a little about being too hot to pick strawberries. Well, bundle up today, and it could be rather pleasant. The current temperature is 55°, with a moderately strong north wind, and the sun occasionally trying to break through the clouds. Very little chance of rain. Gorgeous day!
We continue to have a steady production of ripe strawberries each day, although not over-whelmingly plentiful like they were a couple of weeks ago.
Monday noon, April 27, 2015
Still lots of berries for picking this afternoon. 75°, sunny, and a light breeze...perfect strawberry picking weather! Tomorrow: cold, windy and mostly cloudy.
Monday morning, April 27, 2015, 8:00 a.m.
The rain has pasted, and the sun is out! The storm last night brought us another .75" of much-needed rain, but no damage to the strawberries. Again, with our grass-covered, sandy soils, we are not anticipating customers having any difficulty getting in the field to pick. Still, it might be a good idea to wear shoes or boots that you don't mind getting a little wet or muddy.
Sunday, April 26, 2015, 6:30 p.m.
We will be open at 9:00 a.m. each day this week, Monday through Saturday (It is too soon to know whether or not we will be open next Sunday..it will depend on how many strawberries there are for picking at that time.)
The daily production of strawberries is now beginning to drop off significantly. And, we still have a lot of spoiled, over-ripe berries hanging on the plants alongside the few good berries. This week, customers who are patient, and willing to spend more time looking, can still find plenty of strawberries to pick.
Although we do not have a surplus of berries this week, we are again offering pick-your-own discounts this Monday through Friday for quantities of 12 pounds or more. See more pricing details below.
Saturday evening, April 25, 2015
In spite of a very difficult situation, with a lot of berries which have become over-ripe, and spoiled, we had a lot of good berries picked by a big crowd of customers today. We will be open at 1:00 p.m. this Sunday, but we are not sure that we will have enough ripe berries to stay open all afternoon, if we again have a large crowd.
There is a very slight chance of rain on Sunday, which could affect if and when we are open.
We will continue to have fair strawberry picking for a couple more weeks, with a much lesser amount after that. So, make plans now to come out soon, before the season ends for this year.
Friday night, April 24, 2015, 10:00 p.m.
The weather forecast for Saturday looks great...no rain, clear skies, and a very warm afternoon (another good reason to come out early).
There are still a lot of good strawberries to pick, but with a potentially large crowd, that may not be the situation all day...there is, again, the possibility of running out of enough berries to pick before the end of the day, in which case we may close before 5:00 p.m. In any case, no pickers will be allowed to go into the field after 4:15 p.m., in order to finish by 5:00 p.m., at the latest.
There are still a lot of over-ripe, moldy, rotten berries on the plants, due to a glut of fruit ripening suddenly starting about two weeks ago, and not enough customers to get all of it picked before it turned bad. If you do not have the patience to search for the good berries among so many bad ones, this may not be the time to come pick strawberries!
There is a chance of rain back in the forecast for Sunday, but unless conditions change, we are planning to be open 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on April 26th.
Friday morning, April 24, 2015, 9:15 a.m.
Rain early this morning. Now passed. We are open!
Thursday afternoon, April 23, 2015, 4:00 p.m.
We have closed early today, due to staff obligations elsewhere. We will open again at 9:00 a.m. on Friday.
(Please read the information posted below on Wednesday, in order to understand possible conditions for picking the next several days.)
Rain chances for Friday are now 60%. Come prepared with raingear, just in case. And come early for the best selection, before too many other people have picked.
Wednesday evening, April 22, 2015, 8:30 p.m.
The picking this week continues to be fairly good, with the following cautions:
1. We currently have a lot of over-ripe fruit on the plants that are getting moldy and decayed. After having a shortage of ripe berries each day for most of March, suddenly about two weeks ago we had a huge surge of berries all ripening at the same time. The amount of fruit was overwhelming, and even with all the customers that we started getting, we were not able to get everything picked before it turned bad. We are having to work around these spoiled berries in order to pick the fresh berries that are now ripening. It's not a pretty sight, but there are still more than enough good berries to make it worth the effort.
2. Friday is a holiday in San Antonio for Fiesta, and, as a result, we typically get a large crowd of customers that day. If you have a choice, you may want to come Thursday, or sometime next week.
3. The weather forecast for Friday has us at a 50% chance of rain....need I say more?
4. If we have the anticipated large crowd on Friday, the picking on Saturday could be difficult. The daily production in the strawberries is beginning to drop off, and any day that there is heavy picking can significantly reduce the availability of ripe fruit for picking the next day. When this happens, there is also the possibility of closing early on those days when we run out of fruit that is ripe enough to pick.
Additional caution for Thursday: Due to commitments of my staff elsewhere, later Thursday afternoon, we will be closing at 4:00 p.m., meaning that no one will be allowed to start picking any later than 3:15 p.m., in order to finish by 4:00.
Monday evening, April 20, 2015
Strawberry picking continues to be very good! However, the quality, quantity, and selection will be decreasing as the week progresses. Also, rain chances increase again later this week.
Sunday evening, April 19, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Our customers picked another huge amount of strawberries this afternoon! We expect there to continue to be an abundance of berries for picking most of this coming week, and, for this reason, we will again offer weekday discounts this Monday through Friday for large quantities of pick-your-own strawberries. Don't wait too long to take advantage of this situation....the average size of the berries will be decreasing, as well as the quantity of fruit that is ripe each day.
Read previous postings below to get more of a picture of what is currently happening.
Sunday morning, April 19, 2015, 8:30 a.m.
Very good rains, and a little bit of hail late yesterday! We will be open at 1:00 p.m. today for strawberry picking. By that time, we expect sunny skies, no more rain, and fields beginning to dry out. The fields will still be a little wet, but with the grass-covered, sandy soil, there will be few places that are actually "muddy"....come prepared with an extra pair of shoes.
There is still a tremendous amount of ripe fruit, ready to be picked. There are also a lot of berries that have become over-ripe, and moldy, in amongst the good berries. Be prepared to see this, and just work around it, and you will find more than enough excellent fruit to fill your boxes.
The hail that we had last night was small, and fairly brief. A quick examination this morning does not indicate significant damage to either strawberries or peaches.
We expect to be open until 5:00 p.m., but we do not allow anyone to start picking after 4:15 p.m., so everyone can be finished, and out when the gate closes at 5:00.
Friday evening, April 17, 2015
This afternoon we finally received some very beneficial rain...but not so much that there should be a problem for customers to get into the fields, and pick, on Saturday morning....unless there is more rain tonight. At sunset this evening, our skies are beginning to partially clear from west to east. It looks like there is very little chance of more rain tonight, and by early morning the forecast for the possibility goes down even more. Just in case the weather changes, come prepared for a slight chance of showers, and wear shoes that you don't mind getting a little wet or dirty. Our grass-covered, sandy soil usually dries out pretty fast after rain, but there may still be a little standing water in some places.
The strawberry crop continues to be fantastic, with so much ripe fruit that there will be almost no chance of having to close before our scheduled 5:00 p.m. time. Although some of the berries have gotten so ripe (due to more abundance than our customers can keep up with) that they have started spoiling on the plants, there is still a huge quantity of beautiful strawberries ready for picking on Saturday.
We are planning to be open this Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The weather forecast looks great.
Friday morning, April 17, 2015, 10:00 a.m.
Lots of strawberries ready for picking again today! And discounts!
There is no rain here this morning, but the chances will be increasing by early this afternoon...hurry out! Right now, it is a little foggy, with some mist, but the skies seem to be trying to clear. The radar shows rain far to our west, slowly creeping this way.
Wednesday evening, April 15, 2015
Berries, berries, and more berries! We have had large crowds of customers out this week, picking over 1300 pounds in just the last two days, but the fields still have so many ripe berries that they look like they have been barely touched!
Now is the time to come out for great picking, while the strawberries are still super abundant, good size, and easy to pick. These ideal picking conditions will probably begin to decline in one or two more weeks...the berries will become less plentiful, and average smaller in size.
Our discounts for larger quantities will be available just two more days this week...Thursday and Friday. There is a high probability that we will have discounts again next Monday through Friday. However, when we no longer have a surplus, we will no longer be offering discounts.
Rain chances are going up for Thursday and Friday, but the forecast is not for heavy rain. Of the two days, Thursday morning looks like the least chance for rain...get out here early, and you will probably not encounter enough rain to interfere with picking strawberries. Just to be safe, bring some raingear! Remember, it takes quite a bit of rain to keep us from picking, due to our grass-covered, sandy soils, that don't easily get muddy.
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
The "red flood" is here! In less than a week, we have gone from a scarcity of ripe berries to an over-abundance!
Manuel and Carlos, our "field managers", estimate that there could be as much as a 1000 pounds of strawberries ripe and ready to pick Monday morning! And, there could be that many more ripening every day this week!
Because we now see the "wave of surplus" coming, and because we need more customers coming out on weekdays (not just weekends) to help us keep all these ripening berries picked, before they turn bad, we are offering weekday discounts for larger quantities of berries.
October 16, 2014
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Hours of Operation
Our "strawberry season hours" -- ripe fruit and weather conditions permitting -- are normally as follows: open at 9:00 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays, and close at 5:00 p.m., if not earlier. We will always close early (or entirely) on any day when we feel like the remaining fruit is not ripe enough to be picked. We strongly recommend coming early in the day to have the best selection, and to avoid arriving after we have had to close. Occasionally, we must close a full day or more, in order to assure that our customers will have the ripest, best tasting fruit. It is a good idea to check here, or call our answering machine (830-997-9433), the night before you plan to come, and also if you cannot make it out until later in the day, to be sure that we will be open,
Very often we are closed on Sunday, because we have had so many customers on Saturday that the fields need an extra day of rest to catch up on ripening.
Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Prices
Our pick-your-own price is $2.90 per pound for strawberries ($8.00 minimum purchase), plus a one time $.75 charge for the re-usable berry box (6 to 7 pound capacity).
Pre-picked prices (when available): $6.00 for quart containers; $4.00 per pound for 5 pounds or more in loose, bulk containers (best to order ahead)
(When we have pre-picked strawberries, the price is usually at least a dollar a pound more, unless they are discounted because they are smaller, less attractive, or over-ripe.)
Weekday, multiple-box discounts for pick-your-own
Due to more difficult picking conditions, and smaller average fruit size, we are offering the following discounts, effective Monday, April 27th through Friday, May 1st, in order to encourage more customers to come out and pick on weekdays:
12 lbs. or more (apx. 2 boxes) -- $2.60/lb.
18 lbs. or more (apx. 3 boxes) -- $2.30/lb.
24 lbs. or more (apx. 4 boxes) -- $2.00/lb.
These discounts are not available for Saturdays or Sundays, when there are usually more than enough customers to keep all the ripe berries picked. The discounts may be extended to other weeks, only if similar surplus conditions occur.
(Sorry, we do not normally accept credit or debit cards -- cash or check only.)
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Premium Nicaraguan Coffee!
Marburger Orchard is very pleased to announce that we currently have, for our friends and customers, a very good supply of fresh, whole bean coffee from Nicaragua. We have both a Light Roast and a Dark Roast. It was harvested, and roasted on the farm within the last few weeks (January - February, 2015) -- it doesn't get any fresher than that! We're selling it for a suggested donation of $12.00 per one pound bag.
Why on earth are we selling coffee?
Here's the background story: Two years ago (after serving six years in the Dominican Republic) my daughter, Sara, and my son-in-law, Joey Espinoza, and my three grandchildren, moved to Nicaragua as missionaries. Joey's task has been to coordinate the design and construction of additions to the Young Life camp in the mountains there. The camp is situated on a large coffee farm, and the income from the coffee is used to help pay for scholarships for kids to come to camp, who would otherwise not be able to afford to do so.
Last year, my son, Josh Marburger, joined Joey and Sara in their endeavors for seven months, and while he was there the Young Life organization recruited him to take on a newly-created marketing position for their coffee, utilizing his twelve previous years of marketing experience with a large corporation here in the U.S.
So, now you can see how "Dad" has a vested interest in this wonderful ministry!
When you purchase this coffee, know that you are not only getting exceptional coffee, but you are helping change lives -- not only the lives of the many Nicaraguan kids, who may be getting a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but also the lives of the workers and their families, who farm and harvest the coffee.
The coffee is currently marketed under the brand "Beyond Beans". Here is their statement:
For more information, check these websites:
Beyond Beans -- http://beyondbeanscoffee.com/
Young Life Camp, Nicaragua (La Finca - Campamento Vida Joven) -- http://www.facebook.com/LaFincaVidaJoven
Young Life International -- http://www.younglife.org/Pages/default.aspx
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What else is happening at Marburger Orchard?
Our peach trees blooming in March last year!
(full bloom this year will be about one week later--around March 22-26)
Bounty peach trees in bloom 3/18/14
"2014 Peach Prospects"
(posted April 2014)
We had a severe freeze on March 3rd, when the peach flower buds were still tightly closed, giving them some protection from a killing freeze. In spite of that protection, there still was a high percentage of damage. However, since peach trees produce far more blooms than the amount of ripe fruit the tree can comfortably carry, and still make good size, we can stand to lose a lot of that bloom, and essentially have a "full crop". Right now it is "wait and see". The trees finished blooming about three weeks ago, and are now leafing out. We are now waiting to see how many of those flowers will have viable ovaries, that were pollinated, will start growing, and eventually produce ripe fruit. Also, there is still the possibility for another freeze, and once we get into May and June, we will have the further concern of hail (If we ever start getting rainstorms again!). In other words, we will have a much better idea about the 2014 peach crop by late April.
(The following was posted late Spring 2013.)
The major orchard task from January through March was getting all of the peach trees pruned before they bloomed in mid-March.
Peach trees need an accumulation of "chilling hours" during the winter months in order to grow vigorously and produce a good crop in the spring and summer. Because of a mostly mild winter, our trees had inadequate chilling. Therefore, we did a chemical spray of the trees during the second week of February, which we hoped would enhance this chilling requirement. It appeared that this spray did help. However, there were some varieties, and some individual trees, that showed the effects of inadequate chilling by being slow to "leaf out". This delayed start in the spring was probably responsible for some of the delayed ripening that we saw on some of our peach varieties.
Other ongoing orchard tasks include mowing, spraying weeds, irrigating, fertilizing, and monitoring for insect pests.
Normally, in April and May we devote the majority of our time to "thinning" excessive fruit off of the peach trees, so that the remaining fruit can grow larger in size. Of course, with the loss of most of this crop to the severe freeze in late March, there was very little need for thinning this year.
Once there was very little chance of additional late freezes, during the first week of April we planted our tomato plants and most of the seeds for our summer vegetables.
After the orchard is closed to customers in late summer, we do not re-open until strawberry season begins in late February or early March. During that off time, we stay busy with planting and caring for the new strawberry plants, and maintaining the peach trees, which includes cutting out dead limbs and trees, irrigating, and controlling weeds, plus equipment repair and maintenance.
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Pictures of Events During Past Years
January 4, 2013 -- snow pictures!
Fayette peach trees
Strawberry field -- peach orchard in the background
A blanket of snow on a strawberry plant
October 18, 2012 -- strawberry planting time
Our 16,000 strawberry plants arriving, in preparation for planting the next week.
The beds were built in September, and in this picture we are connecting the irrigation, in preparation for planting.
Strawberry season is primarily March and April. In June/July we remove the old plants, take out the old plastic and irrigation lines, and plow up the field. In September we rebuild the plastic-covered beds, and in October we plant new plants.
Peaches are our primary crop!
We have 12 varieties, normally ripening between mid-May and early August. Each variety lasts approximately two weeks, with the peak of production being in the middle of that two weeks. Since the ripening dates for each variety vary from one year to the next, based on constantly changing weather conditions, I can only estimate the ripening dates for the varieties. I continue to revise these estimated dates during the harvest season.
January through early March is the time when each tree in the orchard is meticulously hand-pruned, to create the most desirable structure for a healthy crop. Peach trees produce best when they have had adequate "chilling hours" during their winter dormancy, from November through February. During this dormancy, freezes do not usually cause any harm to the trees. The trees bloom and set their fruit in March, followed by the emergence of the new foliage. In April, our workers begin the tedious work of thinning. Thinning is the task of removing excessive fruit, so that the remaining peaches can grow to larger size. This work is done almost exclusively by hand, one peach at a time, and is usually not completed in all varieties until late May!
From late February to early April, we are always vulnerable to freezing weather, which can result in either a partial or total loss of the year's peach crop. Springtime is also when there is the threat of thunderstorms, accompanied by hail, which may scar or devastate the crop.
A lot of pruning, irrigating, fertilizing, insect prevention and weeding goes on year-round, in order to maintain healthy peach trees, and to produce good quality fruit.
Blackberry season is May and June. We have four varieties, that ripen at different times over that two month period. The plants are tied up on trellis wires, with grass walkways between, for ease of picking.
Because of the threat of killing freezes, most of our summer vegetables can not be planted until early April, which results in harvest being mostly in June and July. The exception is our onion crop, which we normally start digging by the end of April. We try to have a good assortment of vegetables each year.
Although we allow some pick-your-own, we do most of the picking of the vegetables ourselves, so that we can be sure that they will be harvested at their freshest and best early each morning--tomatoes, green beans and southern field peas are usually the exception. The vegetables are available for sale at our orchard stand, until they are sold out for that day.
We do not grow fall and winter vegetables.
General information about our pricing: Since our products are not manufactured, and are at the mercy of nature, the quality, size and quantity can easily vary from week to week, especially in our many peach varieties. Therefore, our pricing is also flexible, reflecting those changing conditions. Our strawberry and blackberry prices generally remain the same throughout most of their respective seasons. Prices for pick-your-own are less than if we do the picking for you. However, due to the need for competent employees to assist customers with picking instructions and supervision, the prices are only moderately different. We occasionally offer discounts when we want to encourage customers to come out and help us pick an over-abundance of ripe fruit, before it becomes a loss. Since the demand for our fruit is usually greater than the supply, we rarely have the need to wholesale our products, nor offer reduced prices for customers picking larger quantities.
(Sorry, we do not accept credit or debit cards -- cash or check only.)
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Looking for something else to do while you are in Fredericksburg?
For other activities in the area, click on the link to the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce at the bottom of this page.
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If you are looking for a place to stay overnight in Fredericksburg, a little out of the ordinary, click on the links below to bed and breakfast accommodations available with "friends of Marburger Orchard".
Commanders Place/Nevels House
Meusebach Creek Farm
Austin Street Retreat
Directions to Marburger Orchard
Take U.S. Highway 87
5¼ miles south of Fredericksburg
Watch for our sign.
559 Kuhlmann Rd.
Mapquest and Google Earth now have us accurately located! (Other GPS programs apparently are still trying to say we are someplace else!)
Call or check back here for current information.
Click below on pictures of Peaches, Strawberries, and Blackberries
The best way for us to get notices to you about what is happening at
Marburger Orchard is by e-mail. In addition to being the quickest
method, it allows us to get information to you more specific to your
interests, and is a less costly way for us to stay in touch with our
growing list of customers. It also allows us to notify you anytime we
might have a special going, such as during an unexpected surplus of
overripe fruit. If you are a new customer, or have never
before registered with us, please go to “Join Our
this page, and register. Be sure the e-mail address you enter on the
form is current, and 100% correct--we do get back a fair number of
"undeliverable" e-mails. Recently, we seem to be
getting our e-mail notices blocked by more of our customers.
Be sure your spam filter allows messages from: email@example.com
If you are a previous customer, and are already on our mailing list, we would still like for you to fill out this form, if you have never before done so, especially if you would like to start getting e-mail notices, instead of our traditional cards. Please, please, please, do not fill out this form more than once!!! That only creates more unnecessary work for me, deleting the duplications. If you think you should be getting an e-mail when you are not, first be patient--it may not yet be the appropriate time for notices to go out on that particular crop. If you are not getting a notice when the crop has started, check with us to be sure we have your correct e-mail address.
Important change in notifications: I am no longer mailing out
With almost everyone now using e-mail, the printing, labeling, and mailing of cards is no longer cost or time effective.
There may be additional e-mail notices
under special circumstances, such as unusual crop abundance, or limited
We will not give your e-mail address to anyone else, and we will try to use this method of communication sparingly. We do not want to become another source of annoying spam mail for you!
If you choose not to sign up for notices from us, you can simply check back here on our website on a regular basis. We attempt to post current updates as frequently as necessary during the harvest season to keep our customers aware of changing conditions.
click here for Spring 2010 peach bloom pictures
(Spring 2010 strawberry pictures)
(2008 Pictures at Marburger Orchard)
Marburger Orchard is a member of the Hill Country Fruit Council. We have been a Hill Country peach tradition for 36 years! You know it's fresh when you pick your own peaches, strawberries and blackberries! Your vacation or outing to the Texas Hill Country just isn't complete until you've tasted the fresh fruits of our Gillespie County orchard. Primarily pick-your-own, but sometimes we have already picked fruit available. All our fruit is the best quality fruit nature can provide. We take great pride in our well maintained orchard, which provides the greatest ease of picking and family enjoyment!
Click here to go to the Hill Country Fruit Council