37 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Peach Season Now in Full Swing!
Blackberry picking is very good right now.
Strawberries are getting more difficult to find.
Frequently we must close early, due to a lack of enough ripe fruit for the demand. For current picking conditions, and times we expect to be open, read the updates posted below, and usually revised several times each week.
Monday evening, May 30, 2016
Wow! What a day! The day began with a deluge of rain, on top of already saturated ground, which created a "hillside swamp"! Because of the rain, and the threat of more, we delayed opening until 10:00 a.m. Surely, we wouldn't have many customers, under those conditions! However, when we opened the gate, there were about 20 cars in the first wave, and the traffic kept coming and coming! Customers were able to continue searching, and finding ripe fruit to pick until about mid-afternoon.
Here's the situation for the rest of this week. I would expect the traffic to be fairly slow this Tuesday through Friday, as most people will be back at work and school. There is a good chance of rain every day this week (but, there was a more than 40% chance this afternoon, and we had cloudless, sunny skies!) .... just in case, come prepared with raingear, and appropriate footwear. Our crop of Sentinel peaches should continue to produce an "adequate" amount of ripe fruit each day this week .... come early for the best selection. The Gala variety is essentially already finished .... typical for this variety, it again had a very light crop this year, and will have only a very few more peaches ripening through the remainder of this week. Here and there, we are finding a few Harvester peaches beginning to ripen, but not near enough for customers to start trying to pick yet .... maybe ready for PYO by this coming weekend.
This will be a great week for blackberry picking! Our early varieties are still producing, but beginning to decline. Our Kiowa variety started about a week ago, and is now producing an abundance of ripe berries each day. This abundance will probably last only for about the next two weeks. If you want to make an 8:00 a.m. appointment to pick a larger quantity of blackberries, now would be the time! Read much further down on this page, under "Blackberries" for details about blackberry appointments.
Monday morning, May 30, 2016, 9:35 a.m.
Opening at 10:00 a.m. Very, very wet!
Monday morning, May 30, 2016, 7:00 a.m.
WHOA! HOLD UP! It is raining right now here, has been for the last couple of hours, and it looks like it might not quit for awhile. So far this morning, we have had about 1.50" of rain, on top of lots more rain the previous few days. The orchard is very wet, and it will be very challenging getting around out there today. It looks like our rain chances will be diminishing, but not going away entirely this morning. Our best advise right now would be to wait a couple of hours, check back with us, and be prepared to come with raingear later in the day!
Sunday evening, May 29, 2016
The orchard will be open for pick-your-own peaches, blackberries, and a few strawberries at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 30th. We are anticipating a large crowd, and if that is the case there is a strong possibility that all of our ripe fruit could be picked within just a few hours. For those coming early, there should not be a problem finding enough to pick. By later in the morning, picking will probably be much more difficult.
There is again a chance for strong thunderstorms tonight, but the rain chances appear to diminish during the day tomorrow. Still, it would be a good idea to come prepared for the possibility of showers. Rain chances seem to persist for the remainder of the week.
If you can come out this Tuesday through Friday, instead of Monday, do so. The daily amount of ripe peaches should be more abundant for those days, than it will be tomorrow, and there won't be the crowd to contend with.
Saturday, May 28, 2016, 6:30 p.m.
We had a large crowd of pickers out today, and as a result there will not be a sufficient amount of ripe fruit for tomorrow. Therefore, we will be closed Sunday, May 29. We will open at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 30th, Memorial Day, and stay open as long as we have enough ripe fruit for customers to pick.
Our Gala and Sentinel peach varieties are just beginning, and that is why there weren't very many ripe peaches to pick today. That should change by Monday. By that time, there should be a lot more ripe fruit each day in both of these varieties.
Thursday, May 26, 2016, 9:30 p.m.
Tomorrow will be the first day in about a week that we have had peaches for customers to pick....but, only a very few!!! Our Regal variety essentially finished its two week harvest period a week ago, although we have still been searching for the few last ripening peaches in these trees, ourselves, and making them available for sale at the orchard shed (at a reduced price!). The Gala and Sentinel varieties are just starting, and have a very limited amount of ripe fruit each day right now. They will continue to increase in their daily production, reaching their peak about this time next week. This Friday we will allow customers to try to do pick-your-own in the Gala variety (not in Sentinel yet), and we expect there to be no more than 5 to 10 half bushels (25 pounds per half bushel) of ripe peaches in this variety on this first day. Therefore, there is a very good chance we will not be able to let customers pick for more than a couple of hours on Friday morning in Gala before we must close it down for the day, and allow more to ripen for Saturday. With an anticipated large crowd on Saturday, there is again a strong probability of allowing peach picking for no more than one or two hours, depending on the number of customers arriving at, or before, opening time.
We would also highly recommend being here early for blackberry and strawberry picking, especially if a lot of other people are also trying to pick the berries.
There will be very few pre-picked peaches or blackberries for sale right now, and no strawberries....almost all of our fruit, at the moment, will be available only by pick-your-own. When the daily volume of peaches again increases, we will have more peaches for sale, that we have picked for our customers.
The days and hours of operation for this weekend: Saturday and Monday, open at 8:00 a.m., and closing when we are sold out. Sunday, if we are open, opening at 1:00 p.m., and, again, closing when sold out. (The decision about being open or closed on Sunday will be made, and posted here, on Saturday evening, after evaluating the potential for an adequate amount of additional ripe fruit on Sunday, following possibly excessive picking on Saturday.) If you do not have to come this weekend, wait to come on a weekday next week....there will be many more peaches to pick!
Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 8:55 p.m.
Lots of people came out today for very good picking in the blackberries, and some picking in the strawberries! We still are not doing pick-your-own in peaches, but have some to sell, which we have been able to find, particularly in cleaning off the last fruit in the Regal variety.
We have about a 60% chance of rain tomorrow, but we will try to let customers pick between showers, unless it becomes more constant, Come prepared, with raingear. If the rain does not seem to want to stop, we will close.
We will be picking, ourselves, Thursday morning for the Fredericksburg Farmers Market. The market is every Thursday from now through August, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., on the Marktplatz, in downtown Fredericksburg. If you can't make it out to the orchard, come visit us at the market.
Weather permitting, the orchard will again be open at 8:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. If Saturday is as busy as we expect, we will most likely not have enough ripe fruit for customers to pick more than a couple of hours, possibly forcing us to close before noon. If we have a few ripe peaches for customers to start picking on Saturday, those peaches will not last very long. The peach picking will be much better next week.
Late Saturday we will decide whether or not there will be enough ripening fruit to allow us to be open on Sunday afternoon, and that decision will be posted here.
Even though Monday will be a holiday for most folks, we are planning to be open at 8:00 a.m., knowing that we will probably have lots of fruit that will need to be picked every day next week.
If you would like to pick a large quantity of blackberries, and would like to make an appointment to do so, read the special instructions under the heading below, "Blackberries".
Tuesday evening, May 10, 2016
Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 11th, will be the first day this season that customers will be allowed to pick-your-own peaches! But, whoa, not so fast! Our first peach variety of the season is Regal, and it will not have a huge amount of fruit. The main reason is that we have lost about 80% of the trees in this block over the last 5 years, due to severe freeze injury in 2011. There will be a very limited amount of ripe fruit on each tree for the next few days, because that is the way fruit ripens on peach trees .... all of the fruit ripens over about a two week period of time. Only a very few peaches, out of the many on the tree, are ripe during the first few days. The daily amount of ripe fruit increases for about a week, peaks, and then tapers off to the end of the two weeks. If you come out to pick early tomorrow, and if you pick cautiously, you should have no problem finding enough nice, firm ripe peaches to pick. Regal is classified as a semi-freestone peach variety, which means that it will not be very suitable for canning or freezing, since the flesh will not separate easily from the pit. However, it is a very good peach for simply fresh eating, or making preserves or cobblers.
Our strawberries continue to have fairly good production each day.
The blackberries are slowly getting going, with only a meager amount of fruit each day right now.
Saturday morning, April 2, 2016, 8:00 a.m.
NO FREEZE! Clear skies, bright sunshine, very little wind, and an estimated temperature of 50° at our 9:00 a.m. opening time! Perfect strawberry picking weather!
Friday, March 25, 2016, 5:00 p.m.
As expected, today was HUGE! In less than 3 hours, just over 600 lbs. of strawberries were picked ... the most in any one day, so far, this season! Looking at the lighter color of many of the last berries to be picked, my workers believe that we stayed open too long, and let customers pick 200 more pounds of berries than we should have allowed. Instead of having an estimated 400 lbs. of berries for customers to pick on Saturday, we are now guessing we will have only 200 to 250 pounds of ripe berries. And, if we are rushed with as many customers as we had early today, we will most likely be finished picking, and have the gate closed by 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, January 28, 2016 (Earliest ever opening for PYO strawberries at Marburger Orchard!)
Our first attempt to allow customers to do pick-your-own strawberries for this season will be at 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, January 30th. We anticipate having no more than 50 to 100 lbs. of ripe berries for the day....that would be only 10 to 15 full berry boxes. We will allow picking until we feel like there are no more berries ripe enough to pick, or until 5:00 p.m., whichever comes first.
Although not very plentiful, these early berries are exceptionally large, and definitely sweet. With this earlier start, we are expecting a much longer than normal season, and we are hoping for more leveling out of the crop, rather than the extreme peak of volume that we have experienced most years from late March to mid-April.
***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 a very small portion of our strawberries in one of these structures, and tomato plants in the other one. I will try to post pictures, as time permits.
***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.
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Hours of Operation
Our "peach season hours" -- ripe fruit and weather conditions permitting -- are normally as follows (with frequent exceptions): 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.
Gala: $43.00 per ½ bushel (apx. 25 lbs.), or $2.25/lb. for smaller quantities
(Pre-picked ½ bushel price for Gala: $55.00)
Sentinel: $43.00 per ½ bushel (apx. 25 lbs.), or $2.25/lb. for smaller quantities
(Pre-picked ½ bushel price for Sentinel: $55.00)
Harvester: (not yet ready for PYO) $43.00 per ½ bushel (apx. 25 lbs.), or $2.25/lb. for smaller quantities
(Pre-picked ½ bushel price for Harvester: $55.00)
$3.50/lb. ($5.00 minimum), plus a one time $.75 charge for the re-usable berry box.
(Pre-picked blackberry prices [when available]: $8.00 for quart containers; $5.50 per pound for 5 pounds or more in loose, bulk containers [best to order ahead])
Appointments for PYO Blackberries
$3.00/lb. ($4.00 minimum), plus a one time $.75 charge for the re-usable berry box.
(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])
(Our preferred method of payment is cash or check. However, we are now equipped to accept credit or debit cards, when customers are unprepared to pay otherwise.)
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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
"2015 Peach Prospects"
(May 3, 2015)
It is still too early to try to estimate when the first peaches will be ripe this year. Our first variety is Regal, and so far it is not giving us any predictable indicators. My best guess is that it may start about May 20th, and last for one and a half to two weeks. When the peach season begins, I will start posting here my best estimates of when each variety will be ripening. Watch for those estimated dates to continually change week by week, as we observe changing conditions.
We had a severe freeze on March 6th, 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 could stand to lose a lot of that bloom, and essentially have a "full crop". Initially, I thought that we would still have a "fairly good" crop this year. However, during the last few weeks, we have seen some of the very small, developing peaches "shed", or drop off. My current assessment is that we will have a "light" peach crop this year. We have 10 different varieties, each ripening in its particular two week time period, from late May until early August. The amount of fruit is not consistent on all varieties. Some varieties may have a nearly full crop (like Regal), while other varieties may have an extremely light crop. Customers will need to be very vigilant about choosing their time to come pick!
(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.
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.
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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".
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: 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. 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 37 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