35 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Now picking Dixiland and Fayette peach varieties.
Closed Sunday - open again Monday!
Monday afternoon, July 28, 2014
Customers were able to pick some pretty nice peaches today. Most of the picking was done early this morning, but because the traffic was fairly light, there was good picking all day. One family, who were obviously experienced peach pickers, came out of the orchard this afternoon with one of the best looking boxes (a lot of very large fruit) of Dixiland that I have seen during its two week season this year! However, there are now so few peaches left on the trees in Dixiland that they will probably not last more than a couple more days.
On the other hand, Fayette still has a lot of fruit, with some of it so green that it may take another week for all of it to finish ripening, and being picked. So, it does have a portion of that fruit which is ripe, and ready to pick, each day, but that daily amount is probably no more 10 half bushel boxes per day.
Bottom line -- you can still get some good peach picking this week, but your best chance is by coming early in the morning, whichever day you come!
By the way, as usual, now that peach season is almost over, our very sweet Sugar Queen cantaloupe have hit the peak of production!
The Asian pears are also now very abundant.
Unfortunately, our tomato plants are now in sad shape, and no longer yielding much desirable fruit.
(Read previous postings for more details on the current conditions.)
Saturday evening, July 26, 2014
We will be closed again this Sunday. With an extra day for ripening, it looks like Monday could be a relatively good peach picking day, compared to some of our other most recent days.
Read Friday's notes (below) for more explanation.
Friday evening, July 25, 2014
Congratulations on your wisdom in checking our website before making a trip to Marburger Orchard! Peach picking on Saturday will be very challenging! Here is the "insider information" for Saturday: Be at the gate early. We plan to open a little early -- at 7:45 a.m. If we allow for one half bushel of peaches for each car, there may only be enough ripe fruit for the first 10 to 15 cars! Once that many cars have arrived, we will probably close the gate to any more customers (but we will try not to close it any earlier than 8:15 a.m., regardless of the number of cars). Our highway sign may not be changed to "Open" at all on Saturday, in order to discourage any additional traffic, other than our customers who are "in the know".
Hopefully, by now you are getting a picture of the current peach situation. We are very, very near the end of the season. We will probably still have a few peaches each day for about one more week. However, many of the peaches still on the trees in our Dixiland and Fayette varieties are still too green, with only a small percentage ripe enough to pick each day.
If you like to pick peaches when they are big, abundant, pretty, and easy to pick everything you want from one or two trees, don't come Saturday -- or any other day this coming week, as we finish the season! You will not be happy with the the selection!
However, if you appreciate the taste of our peaches, regardless of their size and some "cosmetic challenges", and you don't mind the adventure of searching for peaches where others say they can't be found, you are the kind of pick-your-own customer we are welcoming right now to help us harvest every last remaining peach of the season, knowing it could be a long wait for the next good peach season!
If you are looking to buy peaches that we have already picked, we will have very few on Saturday morning. You would probably do well to get to one of the other grower roadside stands early, before they also sell out for the day.
Due to the daily shortage of ripe fruit, we plan to again be closed this Sunday. With almost two full days of no picking, we expect a little better supply of ripe peaches for picking at 8:00 a.m. on Monday than we will have on Saturday, especially in the Fayette variety.
Very good supply of Asian pears and cantaloupe for sale at our shed right now!
Thursday evening, July 24, 2014
Open again Friday at 8:00 a.m., but the picking is becoming more challenging each day!
Wednesday noon, July 23, 2014
We are again closed early for the day, after having enough customers this morning to pick most of the ripe peaches within the first two hours. This is the pattern that I expect to continue the rest of this week. There are still quite a few peaches on the trees, particularly in the Fayette variety, but there just aren't a whole lot of ripe ones each day. Therefore, we pick only those that are ripe for that day, and wait for more to ripen for picking the next day. It will probably take about a week for all the fruit in Fayette to reach maturity, and that will be the end of the peach season for this year.
We will open again tomorrow, as usual, at 8:00 a.m., but we do plan to close the orchard by noon, as we prepare to go to the Fredericksburg Farmer's Market from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the Marktplatz (Market Square), downtown, on Main St.
Tuesday afternoon, July 22, 2014
Our pick-your-own peaches were shut down by 11:00 a.m. this morning. By that time, customers had picked enough peaches to make it difficult to find much more fruit that was ripe today. We stayed open another couple of hours, selling what we ourselves had picked, and had on our table here at the sales shed.
We will be open again at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, but, again, the supply of ripe peaches will be light. Our Dixiland variety is very close to finishing, and it is becoming more difficult finding very much fruit to pick. The Fayette variety is overloaded with fruit in many of the trees, because we did not get this block thinned of excess fruit back in the spring. This has resulted in much of the fruit being very small. For all these reasons, we are reducing the prices in both of these varieties, starting tomorrow. (see prices below)
Monday night, July 21, 2014
We will still have good peach picking each day this week, but not a large quantity. The varieties we are now harvesting do not have a lot of producing trees, and they have a relatively light crop on most trees this year, due to a freeze in early March. Furthermore, there is only a small percentage of the fruit on a tree that is ripe each day of it's two week ripening time. The Dixiland variety is getting close to finishing -- probably by the end of this week. Our last variety of the season, Fayette, is just beginning, and should finish by about August 2nd.
Because all of my field workers will be leaving for Mexico over the next couple of days, we will be very limited in our ability to take orders for pre-picked peaches, or to keep much of a supply of ready-to-purchase on the tables at our sales shed from this point on. In other words, come prepared to pick-your-own, and come early in the day! The first reason to come early (8:00 a.m.) is because of the dwindling supply each day. The second reason: the afternoons have now become unbearably hot! I expect that most days we will be closing down by early afternoon, if not sooner.
Notice: We may be doing some computer conversions soon, which may prevent me from posting updates here. If that appears to be the case (no recent postings), you can call us at 830-997-9433 for current information. Also, the information on our answering machine is updated regularly, as changes occur.
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Hours of Operation
Our "summer season hours" -- ripe fruit and weather conditions permitting -- are normally as follows: open at 8:00 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 Peach Prices
(new reduced prices, starting Monday)
Dixiland: $1.55 per pound, or $30.00 per half bushel
Fayette: $1.55 per pound, or $30.00 per half bushel
[we allow 25 to 27 pounds for a half bushel, unweighed]
****$15.00 minimum purchase on all peach varieties****
We also try to have pre-picked peaches for sale each day at our shed, when they are in season. However, here at the end of the season, with much less selection for us to pick, and due to the seasonal exit of our very capable field crew, we will be very limited in our ability to have pre-picked peaches available on our sales counter, especially half bushels.
(Sorry, we do not accept credit or debit cards -- cash or check only.)
What else is happening at Marburger Orchard?
Our peach trees blooming in March!
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
!!!!! Special directions if you are approaching Fredericksburg on U.S. Hwy. 290 from the east (Austin, etc.): Don't plan on turning south on the Grapetown/Old San Antonio Road, even if your GPS tells you to do so! This road is temporarily closed, in order to replace the bridge crossing the Pedernales River. Instead, continue about 1 mile on U.S. 290 to the first traffic signal (Friendship Lane), and turn left. Take Friendship Lane about 1.4 miles to the intersection of U.S. 87 (Washington St.). Turn left (south), and go 4 miles to Meusebach Creek Rd., turn left, and follow our signs another 1.25 miles to the orchard entrance.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Rest assured that if you have checked your name off on our printed customer list here at the orchard anytime in the last couple of years, you are considered an "active customer", and you will get a notice from us (provided you don't have a change of address). If you think you should be getting a card or 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 address.
If you would rather get a card notice, instead of an e-mail, please indicate that preference on the mailing list form. We will notify you by only one method or the other, not by both. At this time, we are sending out only two cards each year, according to your expressed interests, one at the beginning of strawberry season, and the other at the beginning of peach season. There may be additional e-mail notices under special circumstances, such as unusual crop abundance, or limited time discounts.
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 35 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