36 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Peach picking until the end of July!
Closed Saturday, July 4th
(and most likely also Sunday, July 5th)
Very few peaches remaining to ripen in Redglobe and Majestic varieties!
Blackberry season just about finished.
A very long strawberry season finally comes to an end.
Something new at the orchard -- excellent quality Nicaraguan coffee -- more information below about my family's involvement where it is grown.
Friday evening, July 3, 2015
We had a huge crowd of pick-your-own customers today, harvesting more than 90 half bushel boxes of peaches, and by 1:00 p.m. pickers were having great difficulty finding any more ripe fruit, and, therefore, we closed at that time. We have been picking peaches in the Redglobe and Majestic varieties now for 10 days, and their season is now essentially over. For this reason, and because of the heavy picking today, there will be very few peaches available for picking tomorrow...not enough to justify asking my employees to work on the 4th of July. Therefore, we will be closed July 4.
The orchard will be checked again late Saturday afternoon to see if we think that there could be enough ripened fruit to warrant opening on Sunday afternoon for a few customers to pick. My guess right now is that there will not be enough, that we will probably be closed this Sunday, and reopen again at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, with no more than approximately 20 half bushels of the last of the Redglobe and Majestic varieties. The decision about whether or not to be open on Sunday will not be made until either late Saturday evening, or early Sunday morning, and that information will be posted here, and recorded on our phone answering machine.
The next variety that we are waiting to ripen is Dixiland. It should be ready for customers to start picking by the middle of next week. We have far fewer trees in this variety, compared to the combination of the two varieties that we are now finishing, and, for that reason, there will be much less fruit available for picking each day during the 10 to 14 day harvest season of this variety.
Thursday night, July 2, 2015, 10:30 p.m.
Sorry for the very late night update....its been a very long day for this old man! We had a tremendous day (actually, only morning) today, with lots and lots of pick-your-own customers. A lot of beautiful peaches were picked, and we are expecting a fairly good supply again on Friday, although probably not enough to supply what could potentially be a much larger crowd. If we have as many customers waiting at the gate at 8:00 a.m. as we have indications there will be, there is a very real possibility that we may have to close after no more than one or two hours of picking, if customers can no longer find ripe peaches after that time, and after so many people picking. If you cannot come until later, it would be wise to call first, to get an update on the status of picking. If it is as busy as I think it will be, we will not be answering the phone, but we will try to leave the current information on the answering machine.
As we have been stating all week, in previous postings, we will be closed Saturday, July 4th, and possibly Sunday, as well.
Wednesday evening, July 1, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
I just got back from doing a survey of the orchard, and it looks like we still have some terrific picking in the Redglobe and Majestic peaches for the next two days! I don't think there will be a shortage of ripe peaches either of those two days, but we will be closing at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, due to lack of staffing.
We will be closed on the 4th of July, but possibly open Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. (check back here Saturday night or Sunday morning for our decision).
Vegetables from our fields now available at our check-out counter: onions, zucchini, yellow squash, pickling cucumbers, salad cucumbers, green beans, and a few tomatoes. We should start having some of our very sweet cantaloupe ready to harvest by sometime next week. Our green beans may be getting abundant enough for one or two pick-your-own customers each day or two -- best to make an appointment to do that.
And, don't forget to pick up some excellent coffee when you are here!
Tuesday evening, June 30, 2015, 8:45 p.m.
Don't miss out! We still have plenty of big, beautiful, sweet Redglobe and Majestic peaches! However, the amount of fruit is less each day, and it looks like they may not last past Friday. Right now, we are guessing that they will be almost entirely finished by then, and for that reason we will be closed Saturday, July 4th, so that most of my staff can have the day off. If there is enough late-ripening fruit in these two varieties over the weekend to justify it, we may open Sunday afternoon for some PYO. Otherwise, we would anticipate doing some "clean-up" picking the first part of next week, starting Monday at 8:00 a.m. The next variety, Dixiland, will probably not be ready for pick-your-own until the later part of next week.
We will be open at 8:00 a.m. this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I strongly recommend coming early to pick, since we never know how big a crowd we will have, and how soon they will pick everything that is ripe for the day. After fairly large crowds each of the last two mornings, the traffic has slowed down enough later in the day to make it possible for us to stay open for customers most of the rest of the day. However, the afternoons are becoming hotter, and more uncomfortable! We will be closing early on Thursday (about 1:30 p.m.) in preparation for going to the Fredericksburg Farmer's Market from 4 to 7 p.m.
Monday afternoon, June 29, 2015, 2:00 p.m.
Lots and lots of peach pickers this morning, but, with only a few customers this afternoon, we still have peaches ripe enough to be picked today. For those that want to brave the afternoon heat, we will be open another couple of hours, but probably not until 5:00 p.m. We also have a few peaches available for sale at our counter this afternoon, for those who do not want to pick.
A better plan might be to come early tomorrow, when we open at 8:00 a.m., and the temperature is much cooler. We are expecting a good crop of peaches to be ready to pick again Tuesday, although not quite as much as today. The quantity will be dropping off more each day, so come out as soon as you can this week.
Sunday evening, June 28, 2015
Looks like a good supply of beautiful peaches ready for picking on Monday morning! We closed off picking at about noon on Saturday, and the orchard was closed all day today, giving the Redglobe and Majestic peaches an opportunity to catch up on ripening, after being picked excessively last week, and especially on Saturday. We are estimating about 50 half bushels of peaches ready to pick Monday morning, and we will be picking some of those ourselves for pre-pick orders. So, you may not have to be here right at 8:00 a.m., like some days last week, but the later you come, the less selection you will have, after other customers have picked ahead of you.
We picked the last of the Bounty peaches ourselves today, and we will have this fruit for sale at the orchard Monday. The total amount, however, is only about 7 half bushels.
Saturday evening, June 27, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
After very good peach picking today, by lots of customers, I feel like the supply of ripe peaches in our current varieties, Redglobe and Majestic, has been exhausted to the point where it would be best to give the trees an extra day to catch up again on ripening more fruit. Therefore, we will be closed entirely this Sunday, June 28th. When we reopen again Monday at 8:00 a.m., we should have a fairly good quantity of ripe peaches for our pick-your-own customers.
However, I am expecting the picking conditions to be the same as last week--the demand for the fruit being greater than the supply. We will again most likely be open for only a few hours each morning, before all the ripe fruit is picked for that day. Also, we have already reached our limit for next week on orders that we feel like we can take for pre-picked peaches, without significantly hurting the supply for pick-your-own customers. And, that supply is expected to drop off sharply each day, as the week progresses, possibly completing both the Redglobe and Majestic varieties before next weekend. At this time, we do not expect to have any peaches on July 4th, and for that reason we are currently planning to be closed on that date. The next variety to ripen will be Dixiland, and it is still too soon to try to project its starting date. To get a better understanding of what is happening, continue reading some of my previous postings from this past week.
It is becoming much more difficult to pick blackberries, as their season draws to a close. The strawberries have had a fantastic year, starting all the way back in February, peaking in April, and continuing to produce a fairly decent, unprecedented, late crop up until a week or two ago!
Friday afternoon, June 26, 2015
The pick-your-own peach situation for Saturday will be no different from what it has been the last several days. Please read all my postings for the last 4 to 5 days! On Saturday, we will open at 8:00 a.m., and most likely will close the gate before 8:15. The only way it would be later would be if less than 30 cars have arrived by 8:15. After this first "wave" of customers has picked, we will re-assess the availability of any additional ripe peaches for the day. That probably will not occur until late morning. It is very unlikely, but there is a slight chance that we could decide to reopen late morning or early afternoon, if we deem that there is enough fruit to warrant such a decision.
At this time, I do not anticipate having enough ripe fruit to open this Sunday. The plan right now is to let more peaches ripen, and provide customers with a much better picking selection again on Monday. The "spoiler" to all of our plans could be the weather on Saturday....there is a 50% chance of rain! The best chance, however, seems to be Saturday afternoon, in which case we will have already finished picking earlier in the day. If we get "rained out" on Saturday, before customers can pick, we would then need to open Sunday to "catch up" on picking.
Due to the current high demand for pick-your-own peaches, we do not expect to have any pre-picked peaches for sale on our counter this weekend. "For this fruit, we suggest that you check with some of our other grower friends, who have peach stands on the highways around Fredericksburg and Stonewall. You can find a list of these growers, and a map at www.texaspeaches.com."
Blackberry and strawberry picking on Saturday will be extremely limited...their seasons have pretty much concluded.
Thursday evening, June 25, 2015, 8:30 p.m.
Friday--"same song, second verse"! Read the posting for Wednesday. Same situation for Friday (and Saturday).
(If you have been trying to call our answering machine for information, and have not been able to get through, I apologize. We seem to have an ongoing "connectivity" problem, that I have not had time to fully resolve. Sometimes it works, and then later it doesn't again. Best bet is probably to just keep checking here on the website.)
Wednesday evening, June 24, 2015
Limited supply of peaches + unlimited supply of customers = some disappointed peach customers! This morning we had so many people that all the ripe peaches were picked by 10:00 a.m., and customers were starting to pick green peaches by the time we could close the gate, and stop picking about 10:30 a.m.
We are anticipating just as big a crowd tomorrow, and, possibly, less fruit, since some of the fruit, that should have been left to ripen for tomorrow, was picked prematurely today. Therefore, we will open the gate for those waiting at 8:00 a.m., and most likely close the gate within the first 15 to 20 minutes, if we feel like we already have more pickers than we can supply by that time. In other words, don't count on getting in if you are late, and if there are more than 20 cars in the first "wave".
To better understand our peach crop situation this year, continue below reading my postings each day for the past week.
If you want pre-picked peaches, it is too late to order for this week, and for most of next week. An alternative may be to start placing orders with us now for the Dixiland variety, coming up in a couple more weeks. There will also be several other varieties, with lesser quantities, ripening from early July to early August.
Due to our commitment to have peaches each day for our pick-your-own customers, and because of orders which we have already taken for a limited amount of pre-picked fruit each day, we expect to have little to nothing to sell at our counter for the rest of this week. For this fruit, we suggest that you check with some of our other grower friends, who have peach stands on the highways around Fredericksburg and Stonewall. You can find a list of these growers, and a map at www.texaspeaches.com.
On Thursday afternoon, we will be at the Fredericksburg Farmer's Market from 4 to 7 p.m. We will have peaches for sale in small quantities at the Market.
If you are trying to call us, there will probably not be anyone to answer the phone during our morning hours, since I am especially short on staff this week, and we will be extremely busy trying to help our customers here at the orchard during that time....try us either late morning or early afternoon, by which time we will most likely be closed to picking.
Tuesday evening, June 23, 2015
Another day of gorgeous peaches! When there is a light crop of peaches, like there is this year, the few peaches that there are grow to larger than usual! We again had to close off picking after only about three hours. It is looking like we may not average more than 30 to 40 half bushels per day of ripe peaches in these two varieties (read more under previous day's postings). If we had a full crop, we would probably be picking over 100 half bushels per day. Keep this in mind as you make plans to either come pick, or to place orders for pre-picked peaches.
Due to the shortage of fruit, limits of my staff, and the desire to maintain a reasonable balance between pick-your-own customers and customers ordering pre-picked peaches, we cannot usually take total orders for more than 10 half bushels per day (even less to none on weekends). We are now at our limit for the remainder of this week, and taking no more orders. We are still taking orders for next week, particularly Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm afraid that by the end of next week the Redglobe and Majestic varieties will be finishing out, making it even more difficult for us to fill pre-picked orders.
We will have other peach varieties during the month of July, but their crops will be even more limited than the current two varieties.
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Hours of Operation
We have now switched to our "peach season hours" -- ripe fruit and weather conditions permitting -- which 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.
Redglobe variety: Our pick-your-own price is $48.00 per ½ bushel (apx. 25 lbs.), or $2.60/lb. for smaller quantities ($20.00 minimum purchase)
Majestic variety: Our pick-your-own price is $48.00 per ½ bushel (apx. 25 lbs.), or $2.60/lb. for smaller quantities ($20.00 minimum purchase)
Our pick-your-own price for peaches is variable. The price is usually not set until we see the fruit in a particular variety beginning to ripen. As the selection goes down toward the end of the two weeks for that variety, the price also normally goes down. Different varieties will not necessarily be priced the same.
Our pick-your-own price is $3.40 per pound for blackberries ($5.00 minimum purchase), plus a one time $.75 charge for the re-usable berry box (6 to 7 pound capacity).
Our pick-your-own price is $2.90 per pound for strawberries ($8.00 minimum purchase), plus a one time $.75 charge for the re-usable berry box (6 to 7 pound capacity).
(Sorry, we do not normally accept credit or debit cards -- cash or check only.)
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Premium Nicaraguan Coffee!
Marburger Orchard is very pleased to announce that we currently have, for our friends and customers, a very good supply of fresh, whole bean coffee from Nicaragua. We have both a Light Roast and a Dark Roast. It was harvested, and roasted on the farm within the last few months (January - February, 2015) -- it doesn't get any fresher than that! We're selling it for a suggested donation of $12.00 per one pound bag.
Why on earth are we selling coffee?
Here's the background story: Two years ago (after serving six years in the Dominican Republic) my daughter, Sara, and my son-in-law, Joey Espinoza, and my three grandchildren, moved to Nicaragua as missionaries. Joey's task has been to coordinate the design and construction of additions to the Young Life camp in the mountains there. The camp is situated on a large coffee farm, and the income from the coffee is used to help pay for scholarships for kids to come to camp, who would otherwise not be able to afford to do so.
Last year, my son, Josh Marburger, joined Joey and Sara in their endeavors for seven months, and while he was there the Young Life organization recruited him to take on a newly-created marketing position for their coffee, utilizing his twelve previous years of marketing experience with a large corporation here in the U.S.
So, now you can see how "Dad" has a vested interest in this wonderful ministry!
When you purchase this coffee, know that you are not only getting exceptional coffee, but you are helping change lives -- not only the lives of the many Nicaraguan kids, who may be getting a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but also the lives of the workers and their families, who farm and harvest the coffee.
The coffee is currently marketed under the brand "Beyond Beans". Here is their statement:
For more information, check these websites:
Young Life Nicaragua -- https://vimeo.com/122380085
Beyond Beans -- http://beyondbeanscoffee.com/
Young Life Camp, Nicaragua (La Finca - Campamento Vida Joven) -- http://www.facebook.com/LaFincaVidaJoven
Young Life International -- http://www.younglife.org/Pages/default.aspx
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What else is happening at Marburger Orchard?
Our peach trees blooming in March, 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.
(Sorry, we do not normally accept credit or debit cards -- cash or check only.)
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Looking for something else to do while you are in Fredericksburg?
For other activities in the area, click on the link to the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce at the bottom of this page.
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If you are looking for a place to stay overnight in Fredericksburg, a little out of the ordinary, click on the links below to bed and breakfast accommodations available with "friends of Marburger Orchard".
Commanders Place/Nevels House
Meusebach Creek Farm
Austin Street Retreat
Directions to Marburger Orchard
Take U.S. Highway 87
5¼ miles south of Fredericksburg
Watch for our sign.
559 Kuhlmann Rd.
Mapquest and Google Earth now have us accurately located! (Other GPS programs apparently are still trying to say we are someplace else!)
Call or check back here for current information.
Click below on pictures of Peaches, Strawberries, and Blackberries
The best way for us to get notices to you about what is happening at
Marburger Orchard is by e-mail. In addition to being the quickest
method, it allows us to get information to you more specific to your
interests, and is a less costly way for us to stay in touch with our
growing list of customers. It also allows us to notify you anytime we
might have a special going, such as during an unexpected surplus of
overripe fruit. If you are a new customer, or have never
before registered with us, please go to “Join Our
this page, and register. Be sure the e-mail address you enter on the
form is current, and 100% correct--we do get back a fair number of
"undeliverable" e-mails. Recently, we seem to be
getting our e-mail notices blocked by more of our customers.
Be sure your spam filter allows messages from: email@example.com
If you are a previous customer, and are already on our mailing list, we would still like for you to fill out this form, if you have never before done so, especially if you would like to start getting e-mail notices, instead of our traditional cards. Please, please, please, do not fill out this form more than once!!! That only creates more unnecessary work for me, deleting the duplications. If you think you should be getting an e-mail when you are not, first be patient--it may not yet be the appropriate time for notices to go out on that particular crop. If you are not getting a notice when the crop has started, check with us to be sure we have your correct e-mail address.
Important change in notifications: I am no longer mailing out
With almost everyone now using e-mail, the printing, labeling, and mailing of cards is no longer cost or time effective.
There may be additional e-mail notices
under special circumstances, such as unusual crop abundance, or limited
We will not give your e-mail address to anyone else, and we will try to use this method of communication sparingly. We do not want to become another source of annoying spam mail for you!
If you choose not to sign up for notices from us, you can simply check back here on our website on a regular basis. We attempt to post current updates as frequently as necessary during the harvest season to keep our customers aware of changing conditions.
click here for Spring 2010 peach bloom pictures
(Spring 2010 strawberry pictures)
(2008 Pictures at Marburger Orchard)
Marburger Orchard is a member of the Hill Country Fruit Council. We have been a Hill Country peach tradition for 36 years! You know it's fresh when you pick your own peaches, strawberries and blackberries! Your vacation or outing to the Texas Hill Country just isn't complete until you've tasted the fresh fruits of our Gillespie County orchard. Primarily pick-your-own, but sometimes we have already picked fruit available. All our fruit is the best quality fruit nature can provide. We take great pride in our well maintained orchard, which provides the greatest ease of picking and family enjoyment!
Click here to go to the Hill Country Fruit Council