Have you seen all the roadside stands selling Fredericksburg peaches? They crop up every June and every year we stop and buy a box of those sweet, Texas-grown peaches. We usually eat a couple and save the rest for our Father’s Day tradition: Hand Cranked Homemade Peach Ice Cream with Fredericksburg Peaches. My Dad requests it every. single. year.
This year I though I’d make it even more special and go pick our own Fredericksburg peaches for the ice cream. I heard from friends last year who picked bushel upon bushel of peaches from an orchard in Fredericksburg and made jam, pies and cobbler galore. She told me Marburger Orchard was the place to go. I called a friend from San Antonio and she and her girls met us one morning for picking.
Marburger Orchard is located just south of Fredericksburg down a long dirt road. They offer pick-your-own peaches, strawberries and blackberries. It’s no longer strawberry season and blackberries are nearing the end. If you love berries, it’s best to save this idea for next year.
However, their peaches are ripe for the picking! They have a quite a few different varieties and the peaches ripen at different times during the summer. This makes for great peach picking from mid-May to early-August. The different varieties also have different prices. Last week we picked Gala Peaches ($1.55/lb). This week they have Harvester Peaches ($2.10/lb) and Sentinel Peaches ($1.85/lb) ready for picking. Before you go, be sure you check the Marburger Orchard website. They keep it up-to-date with picking conditions.
Once you arrive, you congregate at the fruit stand. There, you are given the “Peach Speech” before you head out into the orchard. They explain the differences in the peach varieties and how to tell when a peach is ripe. You can’t intermingle the varieties so you have to select one you want to pick. They offer samples of the different kinds so you can make an educated decision. We picked Gala instead of Sentinel because there were more ripe ones available that day. I figured that would be easier with the kids.
Once you select your variety, you choose a box. You can choose an 1/8 bushel box all the way up to a full bushel. They do have a $15 minimum purchase and will show you how full you need to fill your box to reach the minimum purchase. The boxes don’t have handles so you might want to bring your own bags to use while picking. I took some cute little baskets for my boys to use. I got them for $5 at Michaels. My friend just brought reusable grocery sacks. Once we filled our bags and baskets, we dumped them into our box. Once our boxes were full, we loaded them on the back of a golf cart and the orchard workers drove them up to the fruit stand for us.
We did have one little problem though. They have a “you pick it, you buy it” rule. This doesn’t really work out so well with toddlers. My three-year-old would find a peach and ask if it was a good one before picking. Great! My two year old would pick it, then show me and ask if it was a good one. Oops! We ended up with quite a few unripe peaches in our baskets. They also don’t allow you to eat as your pick. That’s fine with me because I prefer to wash them first, but you will have to explain that to the kids.
We had a really fun day. Between my friend and I we ended up with 30 pounds of peaches. I gave a good portion to my mom to make our annual Father’s Day Ice Cream and we quickly ate the rest. They were perfect and I thought made the best batch of ice cream ever. I know my Dad thought so. How can you resist homemade, hand-cranked ice cream with Fredericksburg peaches picked by your adorable grandsons?
Know before you go: Take a hat and sunscreen. The walk from the fruit stand out into the orchard is in full-sun. Also, peach trees are low to the ground and don’t provide a lot of shade. Marburger Orchard only accepts Cash or Check. No credit cards.
How to Get There: Take 290 west towards Johnson City. Fredericksburg is about a one hour and twenty minute drive from Central Austin. Once approaching Fredericksburg, your GPS will likely tell you to take Old San Antonio Road as that is the most direct route. However, the bridge over the Pedernales River washed out during one of our floods and is being rebuilt. You need to take Cain City Road instead. The detour is not well marked going east bound on 290 so keep a lookout. Cain City Road is just after the Fredericksburg KOA campground. Once you get on Cain City Road the detour is route is well marked and your GPS should have no trouble delivering you straight to the orchard.
You have probably seen Shellie sharing the best deals and frugal tips on her blog SavingWithShellie.com. She promised her little boys, ages 2 and 3, that she would take a break from deals on Fridays this summer. Instead, they head out on adventures around Central Texas and are aiming for #50FunThings by summer’s end. You can follow along with their adventures on Instagram.