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Millions of Peaches. Peaches for Me.


Article by Stacy Conde

Photography by Stacy Conde

It's stone fruit season. Do you know where your peaches come from? Georgia may be the "peach state," but the Hill Country of Fredericksburg, Texas, produces 30 different varieties of the fuzzy fruit, including their namesake Fredericksburg-Stonewall peach—and they're ripe for the picking.

Less than an hour from El Paso is Fredericksburg where, in addition to enjoying history, shopping, wine and incredible dining, you can eat your weight in peaches.

Family run orchards have been cultivating peaches in Fredericksburg as far back as the late 1920s. Farm stands along Highway 290 offer peach ice cream, pies, cobblers and preserves as well as U-Pick.

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The Jenschke family has been growing peaches since 1961. For $2.50 a pound you can pick your own peaches, and, if you're lucky, you can hitch a ride out to the orchard on the tractor trailer, driven by Jenschke elder Travis Jenschke.

Harvest season is May through August, with cling peaches ripening at the start of the season and freestone in June and July.

If you don't want to pick your own, the Jenschke general store sells peaches and other locally sourced produce, preserves and house made peach ice cream.

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Vogel Orchard has been in the family for three generations.

It was here that our helpful orchard host, Matt, explained the difference between cling and freestone peaches. Cling Peaches: flesh clings to the pit. Freestones: flesh readily separates from the pit.

In addition to sweet, juicy peaches, the Vogels have perfected a peach cobbler that is worth the price of the plane ticket to get there.

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Burg's Corner is the original site of the Gillespie County Fruit Growers Co-op. Established in 1948 as a collective processing location, thousands of bushels of peaches made their way through the cleaning and sorting machinery before Jimmy Duecker, a member of the Co-op, purchased Burg's Corner and set up his family business in 1997.

The retail store is chock full of locally produced products and fresh Duecker Orchard peaches. Don't leave without indulging in a peach sundae: locally made ice cream with a generous dollop of house-made peach sauce.

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In 1969 a young Mark Wieser set up a roadside produce stand to sell peaches and preserves from his family orchard. To hear Mark tell the story himself is a real treat. He was then and continues to be an enterprising entrepreneur.

What started as a humble produce stand is now a multi-pronged family business. Today, Fischer & Wieser's Das Peach Haus has expanded to include a cooking school, tasting room and, most recently, a distillery. DIetz Disillery is set to open before summer's end with its first product: Five Judges Gin.