Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I believe that wine, beer, coffee, single malt, chocolate and cigars are some of the most pleasurable gifts from earth, soil.  But to cover the whole court, lets include gin, vodka, tequila, brandy and rum.  Puercorico is the only country claiming bragging rights about having the best rum in the world, without any sugar cane planted or refined in its territory for the last fifty years.

The information below can be found in The First of Men
A life of George Washington
John E. Ferling
University of Tenesse Press
Pages 64-65

The planting process began early in the year, ideally twelve days following Christmas.  At that time seeds were planted in enriched beds, manured, and covered by oak leaves to protect them from the frost.  Because the odds were long against a plant's survival, large planters sometimes set out a crop ten times as large as they could use.  In May the burgeoning young plants were transplanted into mounds that resembled molehills, each dome situated about three feet from its nearest neighbor.

A week or so later,  hoeing commenced. A monotonous chore, but one that each mound required every five or six days.  When leaves appeared, normally six weeks after transplanting, the plants were topped.
In this operation the top of the plant literally was pinched off, leaving five to nine leaves of the stalk.  Now the plant could not flower and the vegetation energy was free to surge into the leaves.  Thereafter, the plant grew no taller, but the leaves grew larger and heavier.  For the course of the growing season-about six or eight
additional weeks-tobacco farmers were required to look after the weeding and the removal of suckers, or useless sprouts that inevitably burst out.  To be continued...

I have read many biographies.  It is very rare to find such detailed explanation related to any agricultural process.  

This book is worthy of reading if you are a history buff or fan.  However, it is written in that detailed style that often will make you wonder if you need all those picky details to know the man.

In my own experience, let the record show that tobacco was  part of my early childhood during one summer in Aguas Buenas City.  In this four streets, no traffic lights, in the middle of nowhere
country town, I had the opportunity  of sewing tobacco to be hung to dry.  
It was a real trip involving the whole family I was spending those weeks. Tobacco was a cash crop, very important in the lives of poor, illiterate people, then, a majority of the population, living from agriculture.

Our literature is full of short stories,
some novels, music, art in general related to sugar cane, coffee and tobacco.

As a critic regarding all related issues of horticulture, agriculture, environment, ecology, I invite you, dear reader to investigate, research on your own...There is an ocean, universe to learn something in the web.

In the next chapter I will share my impressions on the house, the farm and the SLAVE headquarters when I visited Mount Vernon.  Time to go. Apaga i vamonos...


  1. My family used to work on the coffee business. My granfather would pick up the sacks of sun dried coffee grains, collected by farmers from Aguas Buenas, Orocovis, Naranjito, Toa Alta and Comerio in a very old Ford truck. Afterwards he would remove the pulp and toast the grains in a large electrical machine. It was a very dusty place, no air pollution control devices, not even a cyclone. Maybe the closest thing to lung protection was to use a shirt as a respirator mask...
    The pulp made great fertilizer that all the neighbors would use. The toasted grains usually ended up in Yaucono, back in old Parada 18.
    My grandmother wished to revisit all these old paths, a few months before she passed away. My brother remembered all these twisted paths and small roads, so he drove. It was a beautiful ride with all the orange and coffee trees all full of flowers...I am surprised my brother remembered all the nooks and crannys of the road, even when he has lived in New Jersey for over 25 years.

  2. All those memories remain, returning when least expected. Everything was simple then, and yet difficult.

    Water, electricity, roads, refrigeration, schools were not as now..Less crime, noise, stress, people. Todo tiempo pasado fue mejor.
    Jaha bilingual laugh.

    Thanks for sharing those pictures of yesterday...


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