34 Years of Quality Fruit & Memorable Experiences
Great week for strawberries & blackberries!
Weekday, multiple-box discounts continue for strawberries! (see details below)
No May peaches -- few later -- read more below
Wednesday evening, May 22, 2013
Unbelievable strawberries! We've never had this nice a crop of strawberries this late in the season -- they're abundant (for May), and some of the fruit is as large as it was early in the season.
The blackberries have become very plentiful, but the demand for them is increasing daily. Therefore, be here early in the day for easy picking, and if you are wanting to pick a large quantity (10 or more pounds), it would be best to call first, and schedule the best time to come.
Thursday is our Fredericksburg Farmers Market day, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., which means we will also be picking ourselves for that market. This could particularly reduce the availability of blackberries for PYO on Thursday. Also, due to shortage of staff, we will have to close the orchard at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday.
We do plan to be open each day this Memorial Day weekend, but with a potentially huge crowd, there is again the likelihood that we will be closing early each day, after all the ripe fruit is picked for that day.
Sunday evening, May 19, 2013
If you love both strawberries and blackberries, this is your week to come pick! (Did I hear somebody say "two-berry jam"?) The strawberries are still doing terrific, producing 150 to 200 pounds per day, making them easy picking, particularly with a significant slowdown in customer traffic. The blackberries are about to explode with a huge amount of ripe berries daily in our Brazos, Rosborough and Womack varieties. After struggling to have 5-10 pounds per day the last few days, we are expecting 25-30 pounds of blackberries on Monday, and even more each day this week!
And, the weather forecast looks very accommodating this week -- 9:00 a.m. each morning: mid 70's, partly cloudy, with a little breeze, and only slight chances for rain! On the other hand, afternoons may continue to be a little too warm for comfort.
So, come out any morning this week, and get in on some premier picking. If you are coming later in the day, check with us first to make sure we haven't closed early.
Do you have your own Marburger Orchard berry boxes? Be sure to bring them with you. We have run out of these boxes for this year, and will not have more until next year. We do have alternative boxes for you to use, and you may bring other picking pails, if you like.
Friday evening, May 17, 2013
Most days this past week, we had lots of strawberries, but not very many customers. Maybe everyone thinks strawberry season is over, which it would be for the most part any other year. But not this year! Maybe because of the cooler than average spring, the plants are continuing to pump out lots of wonderful, good-sized, sweet berries, and it looks like they may do so until mid-June. Now's the time to fill up all that space in your freezer that you were reserving for peaches, with strawberries instead!
In contrast, we had lots of customers on Friday, and we expect lots on Saturday. Our plants are now producing about 200 pounds of ripe strawberries each day, and we had 225 pounds picked today! If we have a big crowd on Saturday morning, there is a very good possibility that we could be out of ripe fruit, and closed by noon. We are still opening at 9:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. At this time, we are planning to be open this Sunday afternoon. However, circumstances could change that plan -- always check back here the day before coming, to get the latest information.
We had very warm temperatures on Friday, and we are expecting the next several days to also be very hot. So come out early, before it gets too hot. If you come in the afternoon, be prepared to get wet! We have set up sprinklers in the fields, and we plan to run them intermittently each afternoon to try to keep the plants cool (below 92°). If we are successful, the abundance of new flowers should set more fruit, which would be ripe in about 30 days!
The blackberries have just begun ripening, in only 3 rows, and still have a very limited amount of production each day. We expect to have enough blackberry pickers each day to have all the ripe berries picked within the first hour.
Because there are now fewer pick-your-own customers on weekdays, this is a very good time to place orders for strawberries that you want us to pick for you.
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Freeze Reduces Peach Crop
We had temperatures in the low to mid 20's on March 25 & 26, at the time that all of our peach varieties were in bloom, or just past bloom, killing almost the entire crop. As of the first week of May, it appears that in our orchard we will have less than a 5% overall crop this year. Some varieties, like Regal and Gala, two of our earliest varieties, will have no crop whatsoever. Most other varieties are "spotty", with one tree having a few small peaches on it, but the tree next to it having none. Sentinel, ripening in mid-June, appears to have the most, averaging 20-40 peaches on a tree (instead of the normal 200 to 400, after thinning!).
There is no guarantee that any of this fruit will make it to maturity. There is always the possibility of hailstorms, particularly in May and June. There is a greater likelihood of insect and disease damage, since the economic benefits will probably not justify the cost of spraying. And there is no chance that the raccoons, opossums, and birds will be merciful on our shortage!
At this time, we do not anticipate having peaches available for customer pick-your-own at any time during this peach season. Our current plan is for our crew to carefully and thoroughly pick whatever ripe peaches there are each day, and have them for sale here at the orchard stand, and at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market on Thursdays, along with whatever vegetables we may be harvesting from our fields.
The first peaches will most likely be Sentinel and Harvester in mid-June.
Hours of Operation
Our "strawberry season hours" -- ripe fruit and weather conditions permitting -- are normally as follows: 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, Caution: As the days become longer and hotter, we will most likely eventually change our opening time on Monday through Saturday to 8:00 a.m.
Our pick-your-own price is $2.85 per pound for strawberries. Minimum purchase is $8.00.
Pre-picked prices (when available): $6.00 for quart containers; $3.95 per pound for 5 pounds or more in loose, bulk containers (best to order ahead)
Our pick-your-own price is $3.35 per pound for blackberries. Minimum purchase is $5.00.
Pre-picked blackberries are not currently available -- most likely in early June.
(Sorry, we do not accept credit or debit cards -- cash or check only.)
Weekday, multiple-box discounts for pick-your-own strawberries
Due to a current daily surplus of ripe berries, and a desire to encourage customers to pick these before they are over-ripe, and become a loss to us, we are offering the following discounts, effective Monday, May 20th through Friday, May 24th:
12 lbs. or more (apx. 2 boxes) -- $2.55/lb.
18 lbs. or more (apx. 3 boxes) -- $2.25/lb.
24 lbs. or more (apx. 4 boxes) -- $1.95/lb.
These discounts are not available for Saturdays or Sundays, when there are usually more than enough customers to keep all the ripe berries picked. The discounts may be extended to other weeks, only if similar surplus conditions occur.
What else is happening at Marburger Orchard?
The orchard had been closed since late last summer, until we re-opened for strawberry season. During that off time, we stayed busy with planting and caring for the strawberry plants, and maintaining the peach trees, which includes cutting out dead limbs and trees, irrigating, and controlling weeds.
The major orchard task from January through March was getting all of the peach trees pruned before they bloomed in mid-March. We have not yet finished the process of raking and chopping up those pruned branches.
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 appears that this spray did help. However, there are some varieties, and some individual trees, that are showing the effects of inadequate chilling by still not having fully "leafed out".
Other current orchard tasks include spraying weeds, irrigating, fertilizing, and monitoring for insect pests.
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. The first tomatoes will probably not be ready until mid-June.
As of the first week of May, we have begun harvesting some of the onions from our six different (mostly sweet) varieties.
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 12 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.
Mid-summer peaches ready for picking!
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. 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 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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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. Rest assured that if you have checked your name off on our printed customer list here at the orchard anytime in the last couple of years, you are considered an "active customer", and you will get a notice from us (provided you don't have a change of address). If you think you should be getting a card or 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 address.
If you would rather get a card notice, instead of an e-mail, please indicate that preference on the mailing list form. We will notify you by only one method or the other, not by both. At this time, we are sending out only two cards each year, according to your expressed interests, one at the beginning of strawberry season, and the other at the beginning of peach season. There may be additional e-mail notices under special circumstances, such as unusual crop abundance, or limited time discounts.
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 34 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