38 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Pick-Your-Own strawberry customers (picture from a previous year)
We still have strawberries for picking!
For the latest information, read the dated postings below.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
Last update until next Sunday! I will be unavailable to post updates for the remainder of this week, but don't let that keep you from coming out to pick some wonderful strawberries before the season is over!
The strawberry plants are still producing beautiful, sweet berries every day...just not as many as they had at the peak of the season a few weeks ago. Strawberries like cool weather, and the warmer it gets, the less they produce. Harvest will drop off significantly in a couple more weeks, but in the meantime, you still have time to do some great picking! The main caution is to come out early on the day you want to pick...after a lot of people have picked for that day, there are no more ripe berries, and we close, allowing more berries to ripen for the next day. The customer traffic has been very slow so far this week, making picking still easy for late-morning customers. However, that will definitely not be the case any day when we have larger crowds, particularly Saturday.
Therefore, if you can, we strongly recommend coming to pick one of the next three mornings....Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday....while the berries are still fairly abundant. Due to a shortage of staffing this week, we will most likely be closed by noon each day, even when we have not run out of fruit for the day. If Saturday is as busy as it typically is, we may not be open more than a couple of hours. We will open at 9:00 a.m. each of those mornings. We do not plan to be open this coming Sunday.
Blackberries have started ripening, and there is now a limited amount of those for picking each day, as well. Again, be here early, if you want to pick a few blackberries this week. If you are wanting to pick a large quantity of blackberries, wait another week or two for them to become more abundant, and watch here for advisories.
The peach crop this year will be pretty dismal...not enough of the required chilling hours this past winter. I will post more information in a couple of weeks, when we have a better idea of the prospects. Our first variety won't be ready for about another month. There are a couple of growers in the area with some very early peach varieties, grown under protected cover. Search our Hill Country Fruit Council website, www.texaspeaches.com, for locations of other orchards.
Sunday evening, April 23, 2017, 8:35 p.m.
Come early each morning this week for good strawberry picking! There are still more strawberries ripening for the next couple of weeks, but the daily amount is continuing to diminish. Therefore, the picking should remain good for the first customers here to harvest each day, but most likely we will not have sufficient fruit to stay open all day. Right now, I would anticipate closing every day by noon.
Also, I have an obligation which will take me away from the orchard for the latter half of this week. I will have out-of-town family coming in each day to assist with customers, in my absence. Closing at noon each day will also allow them to return home daily, with time to attend to their own personal business. Note: Since I will not be here, there will be no new updates posted during that time, until next Sunday. Until then, the best way to get current information will be to call between 9:00 a.m. and noon, when someone will be available to answer the phone (830-997-9433). We will also try to leave current information on our answering machine for the times when there is no one to take calls.
It looks like our blackberries will have enough ripe berries to begin limited picking this week, while customers are here to pick strawberries. However, this will not be the week to try to pick large quantities of blackberries! That would be best starting in another week or two, when the daily volume increases significantly.
We have started pulling up a few of our sweet onions, but the majority of the plants are still bulbing, and are not ready for customer harvesting. We will try to have a few of these available for sale each day.
Saturday morning, April 22, 2017, 7:35 a.m.
If you are a "serious" strawberry picker, you don't like crowds, but you can only come on the weekend....today is your day! The weather will keep a lot of people away today, but if you come appropriately dressed, it should be no problem. We had only about .05" of rain last night, and the rain chances have now passed on east of us. It will be cloudy, windy, and cool most of the rest of the day, but not unbearable....hanging around 58° all morning.
We still plan to close today no later than 12:00 noon, whether we are out of berries or not....I have an important family event to attend, and no one to stand in for me here at the orchard.
Friday, April 21, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
There will not be very many strawberries for picking on Saturday! As we get closer to the end of this year's strawberry season, there are fewer and fewer berries ripe for picking each day. We expect only about 20% as much fruit tomorrow as we had just a few weeks ago. Following the opening of the gate at 9:00 a.m., we will allow into the orchard only the number of customers that we feel like we can supply with the limited crop that we will have for Saturday. Depending on the amount of traffic, we could be closing the gate in the first half hour, or we could remain open all morning. There is very little possibility that there will be enough berries to last until noon.
We will be closed this Sunday, and open again Monday.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 7:35 p.m.
We had a very busy morning today, with quite a few customers showing up to take advantage of the volume discounts. With over 300 pounds of berries being picked today, the picking will be more difficult for the remainder of the week. In addition to the daily production declining due to warmer weather (strawberries thrive during cooler temperatures), we are seeing a greater percentage of the berries spoiled by sun-burning and various decays. So, despite there still being a lot of fruit on the plants, the selection of acceptable fruit is becoming more challenging.
Here is our prediction and plan for the next four days:
Thursday: Assuming that we will again have relatively heavy customer traffic in the morning, there will probably not be enough ripe strawberries to sustain picking all day. We plan to close by 12:00 noon (or earlier, if necessary), allowing adequate time during the remainder of the day for more fruit to ripen, in preparation for customers the following day.
Friday: Same as Thursday!
Saturday: Saturday is our busiest day of the week, and if this Saturday is no different -- with a much more limited supply of berries -- we will probably be picked out of all of the ripe fruit for the day in less than 2 hours! And, we will close the gate to any further traffic, when we feel like the number of customers has exceeded the supply.
The plants will continue to produce strawberries for several more weeks, but with much reduced quantities each day. When the daily supply becomes more limited, the best strategy is to be here when we open each morning.
Blackberries will be slowly coming into production beginning next week, and becoming most abundant from mid-May to mid-June.
Due to a very mild winter, our peach trees did not receive a sufficient amount of the required winter chilling, and are still struggling to leaf out. At this time, it looks like the crop on almost all varieties will be extremely limited. It is still too early to try to give an accurate assessment -- stay tuned for more reports later in May.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 8:05 p.m.
Strawberry picking continues to be exceptional this week! Lots of ripe berries. Good size. Great flavor. Perfect weather. Minimal customer traffic. Volume discounts!
Due to the low customer turnout, we have not run out of ripe fruit to pick the last two days, and have been able to stay open our full hours of 9:00 to 5:00. Unless the traffic increases significantly, I expect to be able to maintain these hours through Friday -- not Saturday! Still, it would be best to call before coming out in the afternoon, to be sure we are open.
Discounts: 18 lbs. or more, $2.50/lb. (regular: $3.00/lb.) Great time to make lots of wonderful strawberry preserves, or stock up the freezer with delicious strawberries for the rest of the year! (Discounts do not apply to Saturdays or Sundays, and may be discontinued in subsequent weeks, when we no longer have a surplus.)
Monday morning, April 17, 2017, 7:10 a.m.
After not being picked for two days, the strawberry fields are full of ripe berries! We received only about .10 inch of rain last night, and it looks like we could get a few light showers again this morning. But the chances and the amounts appear to be so minimal that it should do little to interfere with picking. Remember, our walkways in the field are sandy soil, with a mowed grass cover, making it easy to pick, even when we have had a heavy rain. Just come prepared, with some raingear.
Discounts for quantities of 18 pounds or more are again in effect for Monday through Friday of this week.
Friday evening, April 14, 2017, 6:20 p.m.
Because we had so many people out picking today (750 pounds of strawberries), there will be much less to pick on Saturday (less than 300 pounds)! If you are coming Saturday, be here at, or before, 9:00 a.m. We are anticipating that we will run out of ripe berries in less than two hours. At whatever time we estimate that enough customers have arrived to pick the amount of ripe fruit that is available for picking, we will close the gate to any additional traffic entering. That could be as early as 9:30 a.m., but probably no later than noon.
We will be closed on Easter Sunday, and re-open again at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, weather permitting.
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***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.
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***We wish to thank the following Fredericksburg restaurants for using our strawberries in their menus:
The Peach Tree
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Pick-your-own price: $3.00 per pound ($10.00 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.)
Our preferred method of payment is cash or check. However, we are now also equipped to accept credit or debit cards (for a small fee).
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Hours of Operation
We are now again having to close early most days, due to more customers, but fewer berries. Read the most current update at the top of this page.
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.
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***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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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.
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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
(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: 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 38 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