A good Cuban cigar (is that redundant?) takes time.
It begins in an oxen-plowed field, grows carefully in the Caribbean sun, and reaches harvest stage nine months after careful soil preparation.
A good Cuban cigar requires curing, sorting, stripping, and fermentation.
Hand-rolled, hand-cut and hand-packaged, a good Cuban cigar waits, fat and sassy, for a quick clip, an orange match flash, a deep inhale.
On a hot Saturday at a small tobacco farm in Viñales, Cuba we met Rodrigo, who showed us how to roll a cigar. We toured a factory and watched women hand sort leaves. Each layer has a specific role and the cast-offs become cigarettes.
My mom, my sister Kathy and I, non-smokers all, watched the collective effort that went into the production of a single cigar and marveled at its value.
A good Cuban cigar starts on the edge of a beautiful mountain range, plucked from a well-indulged plant, sorted by workers in a fresh-air factory, rolled on seasoned palms, and cut with the sharp edge of a small machete.
I brought my camera to the tobacco region, and vowed to return with only pictures to show for my time there. I’m an anti-tobacco kind of gal.
But, I bought my quota of Cuban cigars, and I hauled them home to share.
I hope whoever ends up with one of my Cuban cigars tastes earnest efforts of the sweet people who owe their livelihood to each careful roll.