GILLESPIE COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Things are looking peachy in the Texas Hill Country. The cash crop of Gillespie County is at long last being sold from stands all along U.S. Highway 290. There are many orchards to choose from, but only one allows people to pick their own peaches. Jenschke Orchards, in the peach business since 1961, has opened their gates for people to pick some peaches.
“We enjoy having them come out here,” Lindsey Jenschke said. “Kids love it, families love it. We have people who get engaged out here and then they come back with their first child and their second and their third. It’s a whole tradition. We figure, why not share our opportunity with everyone else? Not everybody gets to live like this.”
Sweet living indeed — with 26 varieties of peaches to pick from off 5,000 trees. Parents are especially loving it now because it gives their family a chance to social distance while being out of the house for the first time in a few months.
“It gives us a chance to be outside and do stuff with the family,” says Vanessa Enokian. Her little girl, Gabriella, plops peaches handed to her into a box, gleefully clapping her hands after each delivery. “I’m not really be worried, she enjoys it and she gets her energy out.”
Sarah Austin watches her two daughters test each particular peach for size, smell and “squishiness” with all the studious aplomb of cable television food stars.
“This isn’t something that happens every day anymore,’ she says. “Maybe when we were kids there were more opportunities for it, but now…it’s very rewarding and we’re here to support the small businesses farm. You know that they need it too.”
Jenschke family patriarch, Travis, says that, in a way, working in the orchard has kept him young. His grandchildren live here too.
“My doctor tells me I’m very lucky — I see my grandkids everyday. I have five grandkids and one great-grandkid living on this place here. It’s rewarding to me. I can see them any time I want, I can buy them ice cream anytime I want. It’s rewarding.”
But even with all the many positives of running a family farm, this season was looking a bit grim for the Jenschkes because of the COVID-19 scare.
“Originally, we were concerned when everything was starting with COVID-1919, would people come out?” Lindsey says. “Would they feel safe getting out? How were we going to move all this fruit that’s going to ripen no matter what? 80% of our business is pick your own and we sell it just right here at our store…but people are coming now.”
Jenschke Orchards is taking safety precautions seriously too with plenty of social distancing perimeters in place along with constant sanitizing. Though, being in the great outdoors is a great way to follow social distancing.
“It’s a great way to to get out and not have to be too close to people and just kind of take a break from all the seriousness.”
A most delicious way to start easing out of quarantine and into summer.
Jenschke Orchards is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until early September for peaches and other produce. In the fall, they will have pumpkins to pick and you can even cut down your own Christmas tree starting after Thanksgiving. The orchard is open for strawberries next spring.
Check out their website for more information: http://www.bestfredericksburgpeaches.com/