38 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Planting strawberry plants in mid-October.
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON
(The crops that we grow are usually available for customers to pick from March through July.)
Open again in February or March 2018, when the first strawberries of the season are ready to pick! Check back here at that time to see how the crop is progressing.
For the latest information, read the dated postings below.
November 22, 2017
The orchard has been closed to customers since early August, when we completed the last of any significant crops that we had for this year. We will re-open in 2018, when our strawberry plants begin to produce a sufficient amount of fruit to make the picking worthwhile for our customers, for at least a couple of hours each day at the beginning. Depending on the weather the next couple of months, our opening in previous years has ranged anywhere from mid-February to late March. In January, we will start covering the strawberry fields on nights when we expect the temperature to drop below freezing, to protect the emerging blooms, and developing fruit (the plants, themselves, are typically not injured until the temperature gets into the low teens). However, the covers will normally give us only about 7 or 8 degrees of protection. Temperatures below 25° usually destroy all existing blooms and fruit. Fortunately strawberries (unlike peaches) bloom and fruit continuously for several months. Therefore, when we have a killing freeze, we just have to wait for later blooms to emerge, and that fruit to ripen, before we can open for customers to come, and start picking. The prospects right now are again for a warmer than average winter -- a very bad thing for our peach trees, which require an extended period of cold weather in the winter, in order to produce a healthy crop in the spring. However, for the strawberries, it may mean that we will have fruit ready for picking a little earlier than average.
We are not without work here at the farm during the "off season". In September, we rebuilt our fields, in preparation for strawberry planting. In October, we planted 16,000 fresh, new strawberry plants. In the following months, now, we are tending those plants, with watering, fertilizing, and weed control, in order to grow big, healthy plants, ready for fruit production early next year. We will also be planting several thousand onions in December, for harvest in April and May. We continue weed control and pruning in the peaches and blackberries throughout the fall and winter months, to get them ready for next year.
Friday, August 11, 2017
This Saturday morning, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, we will have the gate open one last time for this year, giving customers the opportunity to drop by, and pick up some of our wonderful cantaloupes, tomatoes, and Asian pears, before they are gone for this season. (We also still have a few of the other vegetables listed above.)
Sunday, August 6, 2017
The orchard is now closed for the 2017 season, EXCEPT for appointments by individuals wanting to make purchases of continuing produce.
HURRY, HURRY! If you would still like to make purchases of any of the remaining fruits and vegetables, listed above, this will probably be the last week to do so! Due to vacations for myself and my staff, there will be no one here on a regular basis during the last two weeks of August to take calls, and make appointments for customers wanting to come by for pre-arranged purchases. Although I will have some wonderful friends and neighbors attending to a few essential tasks, they will not be handling any sales. If we still have any of this produce in September, you may again make arrangements for a time to come by for it.
This Thursday, August 10th, will be our last day this summer to participate in the weekly Fredericksburg Farmers Market, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., although the market will continue its summer season for a couple more weeks. (This market does re-open for the fall season during October and November on the grounds of the Pioneer Museum, on West Main, although we at Marburger Orchard are usually not growing anything at that time that we can contribute to the later market.)
Thursday, July 20, 2017, 11:30 a.m.
Today we will again be at our weekly Fredericksburg Farmers Market, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., with our current produce (no peaches): cantaloupe, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, okra, sweet peppers. We will have a very limited supply of all of these, so come early!
The orchard will again be open for purchases of this produce this Friday and Saturday morning, 9:00 a.m. until noon. These will be the last days this year that we will be able to be open regular hours, due to lack of staffing. However, we will continue to harvest our current produce items for several more weeks, and you are welcome to call, and make arrangements for a convenient time to come by, and make purchases. If you get the answering machine, leave your name and phone number (slowly and clearly, please), and I will call you back to let you know when someone will be available for you.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Most of the information posted below for Saturday continues to apply to this week. The exception is that now all of the strawberry fields have been removed, in preparation for rebuilding and replanting this fall.
Saturday, July 15, 2017, 1:00 p.m.
We were open this morning, but are now closed for the remainder of Saturday, and all day Sunday. We will again be open 9:00 a.m. to noon this coming Monday through Friday (and maybe Saturday). After July 22nd, customers will need to call (830-997-9433), and make arrangements for an appointed time to come to the orchard for purchases. I suggest doing that also this next week, if there are specific items and quantities that you want us to hold for you.
There continues to be a good selection of vegetables. Cantaloupes are steadily ripening, and being picked each day. Our onion crop, which was harvested several weeks ago, is abundant, and is holding up well in our walk-in cooler (we have great prices on 25 lb. quantities, or more, and especially on slightly damaged, but very useable, onions). The tomato plants are just now beginning a resurgence...we're expecting a surplus over the next 2 or 3 weeks, which means we can offer discounts for larger quantities, and possibly allow some pick-your-own. Zucchini and yellow squash are still being harvested daily. Okra, pickling cucumbers, and slicing cucumbers are just beginning to be harvested daily, but not in great quantities....best to call, and reserve these several days in advance.
Anyone wanting to still search for a few blackberries or strawberries is welcome to have a go at it, for a few more days. All strawberry plants will probably be removed by the middle of this coming week! And, I have still seen a very few blackberries that have not yet quite ripened!
Thursday, July 13, 2017, 8:30 p.m.
Open this Friday and Saturday mornings, 9:00 a.m. to noon, for the sales of our produce at the orchard shed -- no pick-your-own! Our pick-your-own crops are strawberries, blackberries, and peaches....these are all finished for this year.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 9:20 p.m.
We have probably picked and sold the last of our peaches for this year! Although we are continuing to harvest some of our other crops daily, we no longer have any fruits or vegetables that are available for pick-your-own. As long as they last, we will have cantaloupe, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, seeded table grapes, cucumbers, and okra for sale. We will attempt to be open 9:00 a.m. to noon, Monday through Saturday, until July 22nd, for customers to come make purchases at the orchard shed. After that, please call (830-997-9433), and leave a message with your name and phone number, if you would like to make arrangements for a specific time to come make your purchases.
Tomorrow we will again be at our weekly Fredericksburg Farmers Market, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., with our current produce (no peaches). Depending on the continuation of our various crops, I expect to be able to participate in this market for another 3 or 4 weeks.
* * * * * * *
Our peach crop will be extremely limited this year, due to an unusually warm winter, resulting in the lack of required "chilling hours", or dormancy. There will be so few peaches that there will be no pick-your-own in peaches this year! We will pick ourselves, what little we have in all varieties, and sell them at our orchard sales shed, and at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market, as they are available. All area growers, including ourselves, are expecting a very meager crop on our early peach varieties (now through mid-June), and essentially no crop on the more popular mid-June to late July varieties. Our advise, if you want any peaches at all this year....buy early, and take what you can get, when you can get it! Do not expect to be able to buy half bushel quantities....the sparse crop will be too valuable to sell in anything other than smaller box quantities.
We will finish harvesting our first variety, Regal, in the next couple of days. Over a 10 day period, we will harvest only approximately 60 half bushels (25 pounds per half bushel). This is an average of 150 pounds per day. In a "good" year, our peach crop averages about 1250 pounds, daily, for about two months, from our ten varieties! Regal has had more peaches per tree than any of our other varieties will have this year! Many trees will have absolutely no fruit! I'm expecting less than 50 pounds per day, average, for the June varieties, with virtually no crop at all on the July varieties. And, there will be many days when we have no peaches, whatsoever, to sell!
Beware: If you see anyone this year selling "Texas Peaches" anywhere other than a permanent, grower owned and operated fruit stand, those peaches are almost certainly "imported"!
* * * * * * *
***We are experimenting with a fairly new agricultural concept....the use of "high tunnels" to alter the climate conditions for growing crops. A high tunnel is similar to a huge greenhouse, but normally without the advantage of heating or cooling, other than by closing or venting. Currently, we have about 10% of our strawberries in these structures, and we have planted a few tomato plants in remaining available space. I will try to post pictures, as time permits.
* * * * * * *
***We wish to thank the following Fredericksburg restaurants for using our strawberries in their menus:
The Peach Tree
* * * * * * *
Hours of Operation
Our "strawberry season hours" -- ripe fruit and weather conditions permitting -- are normally as follows (with frequent exceptions): 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.
* * * * * * *
***Again this year, we will have for you excellent quality Nicaraguan coffee -- check back here in the coming weeks for more information about my family's involvement where it is grown, about the new "branding" of the coffee, and about the larger selection of products, which we will have available.
* * * * * * *
Typical happenings at Marburger Orchard from previous years
(I will attempt to post current pictures and happenings as time permits!)
Our peach trees blooming in March, 2014!
(full bloom in 2015 was about one week later--around March 22-26)
Bounty peach trees in bloom 3/18/14
Orchard tasks, year-round!
(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.
* * * * * * *
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.
October 16, 2014 Planting strawberries!
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 10 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 or early May. 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.
* * * * * *
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.
* * * * * *
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".
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
(Note: It has become more and more difficult for me to find time to add new "sign-ups" to our email list, and to keep that list updated. Also, it has become less necessary to send out reminder notices to our customers, with the growing number of customers, and the "shrinking" size of the orchard. Therefore, you are welcome to add your name to the email list, but know that the best means to staying informed is to check this website on a regular basis, where I post updates on what is happening several times a week, during the harvest season.)
The best way for us to send 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 39 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