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Journeys of Discovery: Fredericksburg, Texas--a peach of a place

Thomas Wilmer
Pioneer log homes abound in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Fredericksburg has been the go-to travel destination in the Texas Hill Country for close to a century. Peaches are distinctive in Fredericksburg, as the growers produce all of their tasty treats for the local roadside fruit-stand market.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with the patriarch of Fredericksburg’s peach empire, Mark Wieser at Fischer & Weiser Specialty Foods. His family started growing peaches for the roadside market back in the 1930s. 

By happenstance the family started crafting jellies as an afterthought. The jelly-sideline exploded with the introduction of their Chipotle Raspberry Sauce that grew to become the number-one best seller in the entire United States, along with a strong demand in Mexico and overseas.

In the countryside around Fredericksburg there are numerous family peach producers with unique twists on their roadside enterprises. Jamie Vogel and his family have been producing sumptuous peaches since 1953. At Vogel Orchard, in addition to fresh peaches, this is the place to pick up a watermelon, blackberries, cantaloupes plums and tomatoes in addition to an array of jellies and preserves. In the fall, families flock to Vogel Orchards to experience Vogel’s pick-your-own pumpkin patch.

A popular stop for families is Jenschke Orchards’ U-pick experience. In nearby Stonewall, Burg’s Corner fruit stand has been around for decades, The Duecker family farm dates from the 1940s. Their ice cream parlor serves a killer peach ice cream that is just as popular as their fresh peaches.

German immigrants formed Fredericksburg back in 1846 and today all things German remain central to the town’s allure. Of course the annual Oktoberfest has been a big draw for decades (cancelled this year due to COVID-19), and the burgeoning industry of wine tasting rooms has exploded in recent years. German cultural themes stream throughout town. For example in the heart of downtown Fredericksburg, Otto’s German Bistro has been a hit since it opened seven years ago.

The story of Fredericksburg’s history is brought to life at the Pioneer Museum where docents like Evelyn Weinheimer shares fascinating tales of the cultural evolution in town where some of the old-timers still speak German in their homes.  Last but not least is a visit with Laurie Allen at Fredericksburg’s Kaffee Haus where locals savor the culinary delights in addition to a cup of java.

The Texas themed underbed music was performed by legendary Hill Country musician John Martinez.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast,iHeartRadio, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, and the Society of St. Vincent De Paul.

Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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