Thursday Doors Shade Tobacco

Tobacco Barn
None of these barns are in the best of shape, but they dot the landscape around us.

That’s a tobacco barn. We have lots of them around us and I have lots of pictures of the barns, the shade-cloth-covered fields they reside in and the tobacco that grows under that cloth.

I don’t smoke. I don’t think people should smoke. I’m not a fan of big tobacco, medium-sized tobacco or little tobacco but I love driving by these fields. The families who own these tobacco fields have been growing tobacco forever. Windsor, the town where these pictures were taken, is arguably Connecticut’s first town. I say “arguably” because Wethersfield argues that they are the first town. Both towns have signs that say “First Town.” Both mention it during parades and on their alleged anniversaries. Windsor is closer to me, so they win.

If you can’t settle this like grown-ups, then I’ll decide.

Anyway, they’ve been growing tobacco in CT since 1633. They being the white settlers who forced the Indians out of the neighborhood. The Indians had the first town, but they never incorporated. They were also growing tobacco before the settlers arrived, but you know who writes the history books.

Still, these guys work hard, under very uncomfortable conditions and like every other farmer in the world, they are at the mercy of Mother Nature. I give them a ton of credit for keeping this business alive for centuries.

They are growing tobacco under shade cloth so they can emulate the conditions on Islands close to the equator. They’ve been growing tobacco under shade since 1900, and the practice started on the farms within walking distance of these fields. CT Shade Tobacco is used as the wrapper leaves on high quality cigars. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Be sure to check out the one in the smaller set titled “Is It Just Me?” Do you see the lady ?

This post is part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors series. You’re welcome to play.


    1. Thanks Norm. I have tagged some other barns for photos later in the year, but they will require permission as I can see them from the road, but I’d need to get on the property to get the shot I want.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Beautiful post, Dan. I didn’t see the lady…is she in the cloth? Is so then that’s why I missed her as I was looking for an actual lady. My next post will be about a picture in my family room where my deceased mom’s face came through, but not everyone sees her.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Yes, the cloth appears (to some) to be a ghost like image of a lady reading or at least holding a book. It was scary in person the first time I saw it.


    1. Thanks John. It’s mostly shade tobacco for the wrappers. It’s a very expensive and labor intensive process. There are a few farms that grow broadleaf tobacco. I guess that’s the stuff that is ground and is the body of the cigar.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so neat, Dan! There are tons of old barns around here (this area is known as the “Little Claybelt” and it’s all about farming), but there’s no tobacco grown up North here. So I definitely enjoyed seeing all your photos. The “lady” one is lovely, but it’s the following image that’s my favourite. Ha! I hadn’t clicked on any of the pics before I started writing my comment, but now I see that my favourite is also yours! That’s a gorgeous pic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought you would be one to see the lady Wendy. I’m glad that you like my favorite photo. I love photos of barns. These aren’t very interesting inside, but I do hope to get some pictures from inside one. I’ve peeked, but not gotten close enough for pictures.


    1. OK, now I know I’m not insane. Wendy and Joey see the lady :) I don’t think I’ve had that photo in a post before, but I shared it on Twitter. It’s been on my Flickr site for quite some time. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful photos. They sure tell quite a story. Tobacco was big money back in the day, still is. I don’t smoke either, but who am I to argue against money? So many bad things for our health out there. Interesting image of the lady. I see her, vaguely, but I do. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Silvia. The families that owe these fields have reused much of the land as the demand for tobacco dropped. They had tree farms on some of it. Some of it has been developed into industrial parks. there isn’t much covered with shade these days, but we still see some every year.


  4. Bit of a silly question no doubt — is the shade cloth to try and trap humidity to make it more like the tropics, or actually to keep the plants out of the sun?

    I saw a lady in the cloth, but she looked like she was trapped in the cloth, raising her hands up to get out. I couldn’t see her reading a book! It looked quite eerie actually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the shade cloth does both. it shields the direct sun but creates a warm humid oven like condition. They regulate it by raising or lowering the cloth on the sides.

      The lady is eerie looking. There’s no agreement on the book. I’ve studied it and I could go either way.


  5. I saw the lady (WTH is Dan posting??) and then read your post. I love old barns. This is a beauty. I remember your posts with photos of shade cloth; I had never heard about them before. Beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow!!! I had no idea tobacco was grown anywhere but the South, so I found these photos fascinating, and I’m always partial to barns and farm buildings ( not so much ethereal women who emit little moaning sounds. I swear I heard her).

    The photo of the barn you took to show us the size reminded me of the covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa if you imagine the barn without the doors!


    1. Thanks Damyanti! Actually, there is a Indonesian connection here. The plants that they originally started growing were from Sumatra. For a while there was some competition for the wrapper leaves. That’s why they started growing the tobacco under the cloth.


  7. Great photos! I grew up in South Windsor and my best friend was from a tobacco farm family. We spent many a day hanging out around the barns with her Dad and uncles, and also worked their farm stand together. If you are ever in SW drive down Old Main Street – their farmhouse is there along with many beautiful old historic homes!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice shots. These days, since I work at Indian Dental Association, I write so much anti-tobacco because India is rank one when it comes to oral cancer and 90% of the cases are due to tobacco consumption. Many people here are fighting against banning tobacco completely, but I understand that those farmers who depend on tobacco farming might get hit completely.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I know. Every morning I go to office and see journals and live pictures of patients suffering from cancer. That’s the bad part of my job. Recently, May 31 was World No Tobacco Day and I had to create a punch line for quitting tobacco. I made – Don’t Be a Victim, Be a Victor – Quit Tobacco

        Liked by 1 person

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