It’s hard to believe we were in Cuba – when I was growing up this country was so mysterious and inaccessible. But thanks to YMT's new program
, we are able to see this land and explore its culture. Today we were to visit a tobacco farm to see how the cigars of Cuba were prepared.
We wound through mountains and fertile valleys on our trip down from Havana to our destination – a tobacco farm in Vinales, Cuba, on the western end of the island. I could see why many compared this Caribbean country to New Zealand’s landscapes – it was gorgeous! Vinales is in the Vuelta Abajo district of Cuba, and is considered one of the premier tobacco growing areas of the country, and many tobacco enthusiasts consider it the best tobacco in the world. Our guide reminded us that Christopher Columbus was credited with first introducing these fine tobaccos to Europe.
The small population in the Vinales Valley is engaged mainly in growing tobacco, and old methods such as hand tilling are still widely used. Seedlings are grown in special seed beds, and after 45 days are ready to be planted out, when the tobacco seed is actually planted into the surface of the soil. The farmer will visit the growing plant around 150 times during the growing season to care for the plants. The wrapper leaves for the outside of the cigar are grown under