In 1904 our family began growing tobacco in the province of Havana, Cuba in a small region known as Tumbadero, 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 considerd as much of a cash crop in Cuba like 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
Manuel Lopez: 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 feilds 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, which couldn't have made for a better way of growing up. At a younge age my Unlces 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. By the time I was 12 years old I began working in the tobacco feilds full time to help support our family while attending night school. The closest school to the plantation was about five miles away and at the time the only way to get there was by horseback. I remember when I was 14 years old I would watch my aunts roll cigars. 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 art of rolling the perfect cigar, which I stil practice to this day."