36 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Peaches ready for picking!
Regal peaches now going strong!
Blackberries are at peak production!
A very few strawberries for about another month
Something new at the orchard -- excellent quality Nicaraguan coffee -- more information below about my family's involvement where it is grown.
Sunday morning, May 24, 2015, 8:00 a.m.
More wonderful rain last night! We will be open at 1:00 p.m. today (weather permitting). There is a slight chance of rain this afternoon, but there is also the possibility of some sunshine! Any day right now, it is wise to come prepared with some raingear. If you are trying to decide between today and Monday, it looks like the rain chances increase again on Monday.
We had a lot of customers out picking Saturday. There is more fruit ripe and ready to pick today, but maybe not as much as yesterday. Your best strategy is to get here early. Because we do not expect to have enough ripe fruit for very many customers, it is most likely that we will be finished, and closed before 5:00 p.m.
If it is not raining, we will open again at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, Memorial Day.
Saturday morning, May 23, 2015, 6:45 a.m.
Change in the weather! It is raining here this morning, off and on, and the forecast is for a 70% chance all day. Bring raingear, if you are coming today! We are still planning to open at 8:00 a.m., unless it is pouring down rain at that time, in which case we may have to have a "rain delay" in our opening, until it lets up.
The weather forecast this morning has changed from what we were seeing yesterday. The forecast now calls for a greater chance of rain all day today, and a lesser chance (30%) Sunday afternoon. I had anticipated being rained out, and closed on Sunday, but it is looking more likely now that we may get closed by rain sometime today, and very likely be open tomorrow afternoon. Come prepared with raingear all weekend!
Friday evening, May 22, 2015
We will have very good picking available in both peaches and blackberries this weekend. However, we are anticipating heavy customer traffic. If that is the case, we will close the orchard at whatever time we run out of ripe fruit for that day.
We will be open again Sunday afternoon, unless there is excessive or persistent rain (which there is a good chance). We also close entirely some days, if customers have over-picked less ripe fruit the previous day, requiring an off day for more fruit to ripen properly.
Since more fruit ripens each day, and since we do not wish to let any fruit get overripe and become a loss, we are open every day that there is fruit that needs to get picked, including Memorial Day (weather permitting).
Thursday morning, May 21, 2015
The orchard will be open today starting at 8:00 a.m. for blackberry and peach picking. We had approximately 1.00" of rain last night, but that should not be an impediment to picking today, unless there is additional rain during the day. Both picking areas are mostly grass-covered, sandy soils.
Blackberries are extremely plentiful each day right now, and the Regal peaches are becoming easier to pick, with a daily increasing amount of ripe fruit. As usual, we caution customers to come early, since there is always the possibility of running out of ripe fruit before the end of the day.
If you are in Fredericksburg Thursday afternoon, we encourage you to come shop at the weekly Fredericksburg Farmer's Market from 4 to 7 p.m. This week only, the market will not be on the Marktplaz. Instead, we will be moving across Austin St., behind our usual location, to the vacant, wooded area belonging to our friends at Bethany Lutheran Church.
Tuesday evening, May 19, 2015
Tomorrow will be the first day of the pick-your-own peach season. The variety is Regal, and it has a fairly good crop. Since this is just the beginning of its two week harvest period, there will only be a few peaches on each tree which are ready to pick for the first few days. Plan to come early, and be prepared to pick slowly and carefully for only the ripest peaches.
Monday, May 18, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Blackberry picking is excellent right now! However, if you are wanting to pick a large quantity, it is best to call during our business hours, and set up an 8:00 a.m. appointment for a weekday when few, if any, other customers are doing the same for that date. We have no appointments for tomorrow, Tuesday, May 19th -- it is wide open to "first come, first serve"! Wednesday and Thursday are already pretty well booked up for appointments, but there should still be plenty of additional blackberries for customers arriving early on those days. We will not be taking blackberry appointments for the Memorial Day weekend, this Saturday through Monday.
Strawberry picking has dwindled to only about 20 pounds per day, due to rain spoilage last week. We hope to see a slight increase in useable production over the next few weeks, before the weather gets too hot, and the strawberries quit entirely for this year. There are no appointments for strawberries -- just be here early in the day, before other customers get here, and pick all that are ripe for that day.
Our first day for pick-your-own peaches will probably be this Wednesday -- check back here again tomorrow to get our final decision, and pricing details. There will not be very many peaches ripe enough to pick on this first day, so, again, come early if you plan to pick that day. The amount of ripe peaches will increase daily through the Memorial Day weekend, and each day next week for this variety, Regal, the first of ten varieties which we will have between now and early August. Each variety produces for only about two weeks. There are no appointments for peach picking.
Saturday afternoon, May 16, 2015
The orchard is closed for the rest of today, and all day Sunday. We had quite a few customers this morning, and they picked and picked, until they had picked about 70 pounds of blackberries, and even a few strawberries. This was about twice as many blackberries as we expected to have ripe enough for picking today, so some of these were probably picked a little prematurely. As a result, we will be closed Sunday to allow more blackberries to get ripe again. The picking should be tremendous this coming week, starting Monday! If you want to pick large quantities, this will be the time to come. Give us a call, leave your name and phone number, and we will attempt to schedule you for a day when you can get all you want.
October 16, 2014
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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.
Regal variety: Our pick-your-own price is $30.00 per ½ bushel (apx. 25 lbs.), or $1.60/lb. for smaller quantities ($15.00 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).
[Now that the blackberries have become more abundant, we will accept 8:00 a.m. only appointments up to approximately half of the anticipated crop for each day, for customers desiring to pick quantities of 7 pounds or more. Appointments are not required.]
Pre-picked prices for blackberries (when available): $8.00 for quart containers; $5.50 per pound for 5 pounds or more in loose, bulk containers (best to order ahead)
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).
Pre-picked prices for strawberries (when available): $6.00 for quart containers; $4.00 per pound for 5 pounds or more in loose, bulk containers (best to order ahead)
(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.
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: 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 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