Cuba Tobacco

All tobacco production in Cuba is done by hand and is a laborious task. When tobacco harvesting begins, pickers start by choosing the bottom leaves, called libre de pie (freestanding leaves) and work to the top, or coronas, carefully selecting appropriate leaves. The leaves at the bottom of the plant are riper; and therefore, ready to pick earlier than those at the top. After the tobacco is harvested, the green leaves are loaded into baskets, placed on wooden carts, and transported by oxen to the large "casas de tobacco", or curing barns, where the green tobacco leaves are hung for drying on long wooden poles. Drying takes from 45-60 days during which time the leaves gradually turn from bright green to golden brown