FREDERICKSBURG — Driving down 290, my younger brother and I saw about a dozen peach stands on the side of the highway, while on our way to Fredericksburg.
When I thought of peaches I thought of Georgia (I have never actually had a peach from Georgia) – now I think of Texas Hill Country. I never realized there were so many peaches so close by.
Not all of the stands off 290 allow you to pick your own peaches, but Jenschke Orchards has 5,000 peach trees and 26 varieties of peaches visitors passing through can pick from. For seven generations, the orchards have been family-owned and operated. The orchards also have a strawberry field for picking. Peach picking season is May-August, so my younger brother and I were in Fredericksburg at the perfect time.
Small children, hand-in-hand with their parents, picked peaches, while my younger brother and I watched to see if we were also picking the correct peaches. We had no idea what they were supposed to look like once they were ready for the picking. At first, we picked peaches that appeared to be the correct shade of peach, but then we noticed that our peaches were a lot smaller than the peaches that other visitors were picking. We were obviously newbies. The only other place I had ever picked peaches from before was at the grocery store in the produce aisle. I also don’t have a green thumb – meaning I don’t have any fruit, herb or vegetable plants in my house or backyard.
Although as a child I grew up on an acre of land in the country, once my younger brother was born, my parents relocated us to the city. But when we lived on that acre of land, my parents grew melons, tomatoes, cherries and limes. We even had a baby goat that I found out later on was made into birra (a traditional Mexican soup made with goat meat) – I was devastated. So I am not sure why I am so horrible with all and any type of plant growing and/or picking when I grew up in a family that practiced agriculture. But those acres and acres of peaches reminded me of the acres and acres of figs that grew right in front of my house as a child.
After we felt satisfied with the peaches we had picked, we went back to the farm house to pay for our findings. The freshly picked peaches that I bought tasted sweeter than the ones I buy from the grocery store, but they also go bad twice as fast, because they don’t have high levels of pesticides or preservatives. It’s give and take. Usually organic foods go bad faster, but are better for consumption.
When peach picking, especially with little ones, sunblock, deet and closed toed shoes are a must. I wore sandals and there were red ants crawling all over the orchard grounds that I was trying to avoid. My younger brother and I also got a whole shade darker after being in the sun for only about 25 minutes.
Jenschke Orchards is located at 8301 E. US Hwy. 290 in Fredericksburg. For more information about Jenschke Orchards, you can visit www.bestfredericksburgpeaches.com.