Family Background - Cuban tobacco farm, cigar rollers
In 1904 our family began growing tobacco in the province of Havana, Cuba in a small region known as Tumbadero Located approximately 60 kilometers west of the city of Havana. It all started with eight brothers working the plantation producing about four hundred tons of tobacco each year. During the early 1900's, tobacco was not as much of a cash crop in Cuba as it is today. Not until the 1930's did the demand for tobacco become such a large commodity. Today, tobacco is the third largest industry in all of Cuba behind sugar cane and tourism.
Growing up in Cuba
My father, Manuel Lopez was born 1936 in Havana Cuba. "Ever since I was 10 years old I can still remember riding on the back of my Uncle's horse through the tobacco fields inspecting each leaf carefully for bugs and imperfections. Being in the tobacco fields never really felt like work to me. I was around my family all day. I could not think of a better childhood. At a young age, my Uncles began teaching me the process of planting, curing, and selecting quality tobacco. Not knowing they were grooming me to take over the family business one day. At the age 12, I began working in the tobacco field’s full time to help support our family while attending night school. The closest school to the plantation was about five miles away. The only way for me to get there was by horseback. I remember watching my aunts roll cigars and them teaching me the art of cigar rolling.. Over the years, I became fascinated with the craft. At the age of 18, I began my apprenticeship with a master roller, teaching me the skills and techniques of rolling the perfect cigar. Those same skills I still practice to this day.