Fredericksburg, Texas, and the surrounding areas in Gillespie County, are known for their peaches. On a visit in July 1998, I took the offspring to a pick-your-own farm, where we picked peaches and vegetables (green beans and black-eyed peas). It was probably at Marburger Orchards, which has been around for 34 years.
Usually when we visit Fredericksburg between May and August, we get peaches from Vogel Orchards, which is actually in nearby Stonewall. Carolyn Vogel was a senior and a friend when I was a freshman at Texas A&M, and this is her family's farm. Although they are not U-pick, they have an easily accessible stand right on Highway 290 on the road into Fredericksburg.
Most years, my parents drive the 11 miles out to Vogel's numerous times through the season. Some people consider the early-season (usually ripe in May) cling peach varieties (so called because the fruit clings to the stone), such as Bicentennial, to be more difficult to eat, but Dad says they are juicier. Semi-freestone peaches (less "clingy"), like Sentinel, are available in early June. Freestone peaches (where the stone separates easily from the fruit), such as my parents' favorite Lorings, are available late June and into July, while other freestone varieties such as Dixiland are available into early August.
I have to admire these farmers, suffering the ups and downs from season to season due to the vagaries of the weather. This year a combination of a late freeze and hailstorms in May means very few peaches are available throughout the state, not just in Fredericksburg. Growers are hopeful that more rain this spring will help the peach trees in the long run.
© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.