A SKY swathed in rain clouds is an ominous sign for Stanthorpe cherry grower Graham Minifie this late in the season.
The first pickings of his Cherry Park harvest has already hit the shelves, but if heavy downpours hold off for another few weeks he is expecting his best yield since 2007.
Across the region, fruit-lovers are waiting in anticipation for the first locally-grown summer crops go on the market.
For Mr Minifie, that means opening his orchard storefront for tourists.
"We've been selling for just over a week, but we've still got about 90 per cent of the crop to harvest," he said.
"We're in a break between varieties at the moment and will start harvesting again in a week or so.
"Prices have been reasonable and the weather has been good until this weekend, but hopefully this rain event won't come to much."
Welcoming sightseers to the orchard has become an integral part of the business in recent years.
"We get people coming from as far as Brisbane on a weekly basis," Mr Minifie said.
"It's become a popular run - they come up with friends and visit a few different (orchards) along the way before heading back home."
Toowoomba grocer Wray Organic owner Edwina Kent said shoppers were waiting with bated breath for the first summer fruits of Stanthorpe to be unloaded from the truck.
"We always look forward to this time of year and the range of locally-sourced fresh fruits it brings," she said.
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