38 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Pick-Your-Own strawberry customers (picture from a previous year)
Great Week for Strawberry Picking!
The daily production has now increased significantly! For the latest information, read the dated postings below.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 9:10 p.m.
We had another great day of strawberry picking today, with lots of large, beautiful, red-ripe berries! The average daily harvest for the last several days has been over 400 pounds, with even more berries still in the field each day that could have been picked. Because of the abundance, we have been able to stay open until 5:00 p.m. every day since last Saturday (when 900 pounds were picked!), and we fully expect to do the same this Thursday and Friday.
The picking has been so easy this week that we have had many customers picking three, four, or five boxes in less than an hour. With the exception of strong winds, the weather looks great for picking tomorrow, Thursday, March 23rd. Friday may be more questionable for the weather....there is about a 50% chance of light, scattered rain in the morning....clearing in the afternoon. Either day would be much more preferable than Saturday and Sunday, when we anticipate having huge crowds!
Monday, March 20, 2017, 8:20 p.m.
Fantastic picking this week---don't miss it! Lots of big, beautiful berries! There have been so many ripe berries that we have been able to stay open our full hours each of the last three days, in spite of much heavier customer traffic. And, it looks like every day this week should be equally, or even more, abundant. (Continue reading the posting below, for this past Saturday.)
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 8:30 p.m.
Today was by far the biggest strawberry picking day this season! And, it looks like this coming week could be the best week! The amount of ripe fruit each day has suddenly surged, and yet it has not increased to an over-abundance. This means that the average size of the berries is still relatively large. When the plants overload with too many ripe berries at one time, the average size decreases, as will probably be the case a few weeks from now.
We will be open tomorrow, Sunday, March 19th, starting at 1:00 p.m. There will be an abundance of berries waiting for the first pickers to arrive, but don't count on us staying open until 5:00 p.m. If there is a large crowd, we could still potentially sell out of ripe berries in the first two or three hours, and close early.
It appears that the picking will be fantastic every day this coming week! With the production on the increase, with the traffic down (Spring Break is over), and with a string of warm, sunny days, there will easily be more than enough fresh, ripe berries every day. (Mornings look mild and gorgeous....afternoons look like they could be pushing uncomfortably warm.) With so much fruit, we will mostly likely be open our full hours each day, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, if you are planning to come late afternoon, call first to make sure the situation hasn't changed, and to be sure we have not had to close early (830-997-9433). For those of you who would like to avoid the crowds on the weekend, but who work during the weekdays, if you can arrange to get here by 4:00 p.m., and call before coming, we usually can accommodate your picking a little beyond 5:00 p.m. This week might also be a great opportunity for local families that want to make a quick trip out to pick right after school.
Friday, March 17, 2017, 6:00 p.m.
Good news for Saturday! Large quantities of strawberries are now starting to ripen each day! This past week we were struggling to find 150 to 200 pounds of ripe berries each day. We were closed all day today to try to let the berries catch-up on ripening, after unusually heavy picking on Thursday. After checking the fields late this afternoon, we are estimating that there potentially could be 600 to 700 pounds of berries ready for picking tomorrow!
Therefore, it should not be necessary for everyone to be here at 9:00 a.m. Since we still have a very limited staff, we would actually appreciate it if everyone does not show up at the same time! It would make it easier for us to do a better job of giving good picking instructions, and getting you checked out, following your picking. With this many ripe berries, I suspect that there should be enough for customers to keep picking at least until noon, and possibly into the early afternoon.
We do not know at this time if there will be enough ripe berries to pick again Sunday afternoon. We will make that decision late Saturday afternoon, after seeing the result of the picking for the day.
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 3:45 p.m.
WE WILL BE CLOSED ALL DAY FRIDAY, MARCH 17th! After further assessment this afternoon of the crop, and the rate of ripening of the berries, we have determined that being open both Friday and Saturday would only make for a very stressful situation for our customers on both days, having enough ripe strawberries for everyone showing up to try to pick. Therefore, by remaining closed on Friday, we should have a "comfortable" amount of fruit ready to pick at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. I would still strongly recommend be here Saturday as close to opening time as you can. Saturday is usually our highest traffic day of the week, and, again, I suspect that we will run out of ripe berries within an hour or two.
My apologies to those of you who were planning to come Friday. Farming is less about "managing" crops than it is about "responding" to whatever nature decides to give us!
If you can't make it out this week, not to worry....the picking should get even better every week, for the next several weeks!
Thursday, March 16, 2017, noon
Looks like we may need to be closed Friday, to allow the strawberries more time to ripen. Check back here later this afternoon for our decision. Right now we are totally cloud-covered. Without sunshine, strawberries ripen much more slowly. We plan to be open Saturday morning, and we would expect a very large crowd, which will probably mean getting picked out of ripe berries quickly. Depending on the crop, and the amount of picking on Saturday, there is a very good chance that there will not be sufficient berries to open for picking on Sunday afternoon. Weekdays next week look much better!
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 3:00 a.m.
Strawberry picking for Thursday does not look so good! I just came back from a late night walk through the fields, hunting for varmints that do nighttime "harvesting". My flashlight revealed that there were very few ripe berries ready for picking today. This is probably a result of two factors: 1) too many under-ripe berries were picked by anxious customers on Wednesday, and 2) after a very sunny morning on Wednesday, the weather turned mostly cloudy for the remaining 7 hours of the day....not good for ripening strawberries!
Had I realized this earlier, I would have considered closing picking entirely for Thursday, giving the fruit more opportunity to ripen. Since it is too late for that, this is the plan: Anyone at the gate at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday will be allowed to attempt to pick. Immediately after 9:00 the gate will be closed to any additional customers. (Also, please read the previous update, just below, written yesterday.)
Can you wait, and come next week? There are lots of berries hanging on the plants right now that will be ripe next week!
Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 2:50 p.m.
CLOSED TODAY BY 10:30 a.m.! There were twice as many cars at the gate at 9:00 a.m. today, as there were yesterday, and within an hour we were having to close the gate to any more customers! The plants are yielding a little more fruit each day (230 pounds today, compared to 125 pounds yesterday), but still not near enough for all the people who want to come pick this week.
Due to the increasing early rush of traffic each day, and our very limited staff, we will be trying something a little different the rest of this week. Please be patient with us! We will open the gate at 9:00 a.m., and let all waiting cars at that time enter, but we may need to close very soon after that to any more cars, if we don't feel like we have sufficient ripe berries to accommodate more pickers. As you drive in, expect to be parked to groups of 10 cars, each group waiting its turn, until the previous group has received picking instructions, and been sent to the field. We simply can't handle a continuous flow of customers walking up while we are in the middle of this orientation presentation.
Once again, if you don't need to come this week (Spring Break), wait, and come next week, when the crop should be greater, and the traffic should be lighter.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 11:25 a.m.
CLOSED! Today we had so many cars waiting when we opened at 9:00 a.m. that we could only let a few in after that, and then had to close the gate to any additional traffic. By the time all pickers had finished about 11:00 a.m., approximately 125 pounds of berries had been harvested....all that was ripe enough to pick today.
It looks like we might have lots of good sunshine all day today. That will help the ripening of berries for tomorrow's picking. However, I expect the same situation every day this week....first customers here pick everything that is ready, and then we close--probably less than an hour.
Monday, March 13, 2017, 3:20 p.m.
We were sold out, and closed, by noon today! In spite of cloudy, drizzly, cold, windy weather, we had lots of customers, starting right away at 9:00 a.m., and by 11:00 a.m. pickers were starting to take under-ripe berries. By the time we could shut the gate, restricting any more traffic, 234 pounds of berries had been picked!
After a very cloudy morning, we now have a totally clear, sunny afternoon. This is what our berries need to get ripe again for tomorrow. However, it is doubtful that we will have as many ripe berries tomorrow, as we had today, since so much of the fruit picked today would have been part of the crop for tomorrow. With the surge of customers this week, the best advise I can give is: Be here at 9:00 a.m.! We will be open every day for only as long as there is ripe fruit to pick! There have been occasions in the past when we have let in only the cars waiting at the gate at opening time, because there wasn't enough fruit for any additional customers.
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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 now have enough fruit to maintain full hours most days. 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