SUMMER FAVOURITE: Cherry Park’s Graham Minifie has harvested the first of his early season cherry varieties and is waiting for the remaining 90% of his crop to ripen.
SUMMER FAVOURITE: Cherry Park’s Graham Minifie has harvested the first of his early season cherry varieties and is waiting for the remaining 90% of his crop to ripen. Daniel Elliott

First cherries give hint of a great crop

THE early season cherry varieties have been harvested and the remainder of Cherry Park's harvest is rapidly ripening on the trees.

Cherry Park orchardist Graham Minifie said the orchard's Empress and experimental Ferpine cherry varieties had been picked and indications were good for the remaining varieties.

We have had a bit of luck with the weather and now we don't want any more rain and plenty of sunshine.

"We have harvested the Empress crop which is the first of the cherry varieties and our experimental Ferpine crop has also come off and has to proven to be a good early cherry," he said.

"We are now waiting in anticipation of harvesting the remaining 90% which is primarily the Lapin variety.

"Picking should start again this Saturday or Sunday."

Mr Minifie said early season cherries were often smaller and softer than those harvested later in the season but the Ferpine produced large, full flavoured fruit and while it was the first time he had harvested the experimental variety early signs were positive.

"Early cherries throughout the world are known as smaller, softer fruit," he said.

"The Ferpine variety was developed as an early cherry to be larger and full of flavour.

"It has proven to be the case in the Stanthorpe district and we have a good first indication of what the fruit will be like.

"We might trial 10 cherry varieties and find one or two good ones so to find one out of one is very good."

While he did lose about one tonne of Merchant variety cherries because of splitting, Mr Minifie said he had been fortunate growing conditions had been mostly kind to him.

"Early prices have generally been good," he said.

"We have had a bit of luck with the weather and now we don't want any more rain and plenty of sunshine."

Mr Minifie said it was not just the early season cherries pleasing palates out at Cherry Park.

"The cherry wine QCWT and Mike Hayes developed from last year's crop has been bottled and will soon be available for sale," he said.

"Out of all the wines and liqueurs Cherry Park has been involved with this is by far the best."



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