Tobacco Barns in Winter
On a recent drive in central Connecticut I came across a tobacco farm. Yes, Connecticut was once a major producer of tobacco leaves used to wrap cigars. There are still operating tobacco barns, like this one. These barns are giants – they go on for what seems to be forever! The length of the barn in this picture is not a trick of the eye – it is really, REALLY long. I like how the tire tracks in the snow-dusted drive harmonize with the ridges in the ground beside the barn. I’m not sure if the green in the field is actually tobacco or not. The tobacco leaves are dried on long racks in the barns. The siding runs up and down rather than lengthwise so that boards can be removed easily to created cross-currants of air to assist the drying process. So glad that they are still examples of these wonderful barns in working order for folks like me to photograph!
Anne Freeman Images: “The Art of the Outdoors”
Boy does this bring back memories! I grew up in CT and worked on a tobacco farm from the time I was 12 or 13 right through high school. CT was quite famous for it’s tobacco and there were two kinds grown in the state. Shade grown, which is what you have here, the netting on the poles in the right of the image were stretched across the tops of the poles while the tobacco was grown underneath. And there was broad leaf, the kind of farm I worked on.
The only difference I knew of at the time(I’m sure there are many) was that with shade grown, the largest leaves were picked off the plant while the plant was still living, then hung in the barns to dry. While with broad leaf the entire plant was cut, strung on a lath, and then hung in the “sheds”, as we called the barns, to dry.
Can I ask where these were taken? It’s been a lot of years since I’ve been back “home,” but I know in Glastonbury where I grew up, the tobacco barn has given way to office parks and housing developments. There are precious few of these barns left. I keep meaning to get down there to photograph them before they are all gone.
Jeff – my sister lives in Glastonbury! Crazy! I think there may be one barn left in Glastonbury. I’m going up there in about a week, and hope to take some more pixs. This photo was taken of the big tabacco farm up by the Bradly International Airport. There were at least a dozen barns, and it appears to be owned by one organization. That is so cool that you worked on the tobacco farm. My grandmother worked in a factory in Eastern PA that rolled cigars. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the leaves were from CT. I’m going to post a neat photo of the shade grown field in the snow that I think you will enjoy. Thanks so much for shaing your memories!
Small world huh? I think, and I say “think” because it’s been so long since I’ve been down there, that there might be one or two barns left on the farm I used to work on out on Addison Rd. Last I knew they were running a farm stand there now, no more tobacco. I’ll have to ask my mother to be sure, she buys her corn from them in the summer.