Fredericksburg Peaches: Guide to Central Texas Orchards
Sweeten your summer with a visit to the orchards, farm stands and shops of a quaint Hill Country town
Growing up in Austin, one of the things I most looked forward to every summer was our annual haul of Fredericksburg peaches. My grandfather ordered them by the case every year, and my mom would stack box upon box in our kitchen once they arrived. With four siblings, we worked through them pretty quickly – often eating three or four in one sitting.
When I moved back to Texas and started travelling out to Big Bend, I always stopped at local stands along Highway 290 to relive those childhood memories. More recently, day trips out to Fredericksburg have provided a much-needed break from the monotony of quarantine. The Hill Country is always a good escape, and it’s hard to beat a sunny afternoon of scouring local farm stands for the best peaches. Using the full list of local orchards as a reference, I rounded up a few of my favorite spots to find everything from peach ice cream, peach salsa, peach preserves – and of course, boxes of famous Fredericksburg peaches.
Leaving Burg’s Corner, you’ll barely have enough time for one more song on the road trip playlist before you reach the Vogel Orchard roadside stand. Owned by Jamey and Terri Vogel, the family orchard was established in 1953 by George and Nelda Vogel and Nelda is still involved in operations. Her name is on the orchard’s homemade products, which include delicious peach butters and peach preserves as well as other fruit jellies. You’ll be hard-pressed to decide between a scoop of homemade blackberry or the peach butter ice cream, so I recommend trying both before hitting the road with a whole box (or three) of Vogel peaches in tow.
This little farm stand and retail store is one of the first to pop up on Highway 290, located between Stonewall and Fredericksburg. Established in 1948, Burg’s Corner is the retail site of Jimmy Duecker Orchards, selling everything from butters and jellies to dressings, ciders and pickled products. My favorite is the Texas Hill Country Peach Salsa, a perfect blend of sweet and spicy and a perfect gift to bring back home.
Just down the road from the Eckhardt Orchard, Das Peach Haus is a fun oasis to sample even more peachy products. In addition to an orchard and a fabulous selection of specialty food products in their store, the historic property features a beautiful lake and gorgeous views. Although wine tastings are temporarily suspended, you can order wine by the glass on Saturdays and Sundays, including their sparkling peach selections.
Before heading into downtown Fredericksburg, take a small detour down Friendship Lane toward Donald Eckhardt orchards. Operating since 1936, this family stand sells several varieties of peaches and will happily educate customers on the flavor and texture of each one. They often sell out early in the day, so check their Facebook page before arrival. Even if you don’t get to try the peaches, their giant blackberries are worth the stop.
For a first-hand experience of the summer fruit harvest, set your course to Jenschke Orchard. In May, we loved searching for strawberries, hunting for hints of red hiding beneath dark green leaves. Peach and blackberry season are now well underway, and though a milder winter means the summer crop is a little smaller this year, there’s just something about picking them yourself that makes the fruit taste that much sweeter.
Sufficiently armed with peaches and peach-flavored products, head into Fredericksburg for some shopping and refreshment. Antique stores and boutiques abound along Main Street, and masks are encouraged for indoor browsing. At the advice of local Lara Bobo, we sampled fresh-squeezed local juices at Frisch Juicery before unwinding on the patio at La Bergerie with a glass of local Texas wine and delectable charcuterie.
A Slight Detour
Since it would simply be “un-Texan” not to, be sure to take a detour to Luckenbach on your way home. Less than a fifteen-minute drive off Highway 290, the tiny town was founded by German farmers in the late 1840s, growing from just a small trading post to include a general store, saloon and dance hall. Purchasing the town in 1971, Hondo Crouch hosted music festivals and eclectic gatherings that eventually brought Luckenbach national attention. Jerry Jeff Walker recorded his 1973 album ¡Viva Terlingua! in the Luckenbach Dancehall and in 1977, Waylon Jennings’ hit song forever cemented the town’s legendary reputation. Many of its annual events still take place, but there’s no need to wait for a special occasion. Sipping local beer while listening to musicians strum beneath the tall oak trees will make any summer evening magical in Luckenbach, Texas.