38 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Pick-Your-Own strawberry customers (picture from a previous year)
A Few Strawberries Now Ready For Picking!
We do not yet have enough ripe berries for customer picking every day of the week. For the latest information, read the dated postings below. Our days and hours of operation will probably be irregular for the first few weeks of the season, until the plants become more productive.
February 20, 2017
Limited opening! We will be open at 9:00 a.m. this Wednesday for the first day of customer picking for this season. Caution: There are still not very many ripe berries each day, and we will close for the day just as soon as those ripe berries have been picked! Also, along with a very nice rain a week ago, we had some hail, and that hail left a few "beauty marks" on some of the fruit. The upside of harvesting some of this early fruit is that much of it is averaging much larger size that later season fruit. If you wish to order strawberries that we have picked for you, you will need to wait another week or two, when we have a better selection of undamaged fruit. On the other hand, if you want strawberries that taste great, but may not be the prettiest, we can supply you right now with pre-picked "seconds", at a discounted price. Call for more information, and to place an order. PYO prices will not be reduced.
We will again open Saturday morning, with the same procedure, closing when we have no more ripe berries to pick. I expect that we will only have enough next week to again open only on Wednesday and Saturday, but check here again next week to see if that has changed. We may possibly be able to open more than just those two days. For whichever day you are planning to come, you are more than welcome to call our answering machine (830-997-9433), and leave a message (slowly and clearly, please) with your name, phone number, and which day at 9:00 a.m. you are planning to come, so that we can call you, if necessary, to advise you of the picking conditions for that day.
February 3, 2017
What a beautiful peach day it is today! While most of you are probably cursing the weather today, and are anxious for spring to get here, I am thankful for this "miserable" weather, and am hoping we see more of it this month. Cloudy, damp, and 45°.....all day! This is perfect weather for peach trees to get their winter dormancy requirement, in order to be healthy, and make a good crop this coming summer. During this period of "rest" -- December thru February -- our Texas Hill Country peach varieties need approximately 750 hours of temperatures at or below 45°. This winter has been warmer than average, and that means our peach trees have not yet received the total number of hours that they require.
WHAT ABOUT STRAWBERRIES?
We are not quite ready, yet, for customers to start picking strawberries. This time last year, we were open for picking, due to a very mild winter, and our ability to protect our strawberry blooms, starting in December. We attempted to do the same thing again this year. However, when the temperatures got below 15° the mornings of January 7th and 8th, and remained below freezing for more than 36 hours, the covers over our strawberry plants were not able to keep most of the emerging blooms from being killed. These blooms would be the fruit that we would be harvesting right now (apx. 30 days later). Unlike peach trees -- which bloom only once --, strawberry plants continue to bloom, until it gets too hot for them in late spring/early summer. Therefore, given time, our plants will have lots more blooms, and lots more fruit!
We are growing about 10% of our strawberry plants this year under the partial protection of our "high tunnel" structures. The blooms on these plants did survive the severe freeze, and we have been harvesting fruit from these plants now for several weeks, and supplying some of our very loyal Fredericksburg restaurants with this limited amount of fruit. Although this fruit is not available for pick-your-own at this time, there are some days when we have some surplus that can be sold (pre-picked) to customers, who call ahead, and make arrangements for a time to come by and get it. If you are interested in doing this, call (830-997-9433), leave your name and phone number on the answering machine, and we will call you when berries are available. (2/10/17 -- Due to the slow progress of strawberries ripening, and the high demand from our restaurants for their Valentine's Day menus, we have no surplus to sell to other customers at this time. We anticipate that the production, and availability, will begin to increase in one or two more weeks.)
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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 will be planting a few tomato plants later 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
Limited days and limited hours, until the production of ripe berries increases. 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