We have to know that the northern US states of Massachusetts or Connecticut are also two of the best tobacco-growing regions in the country. Long time before Europeans arrived in the area, Native Americans cultivated wild tobacco plants which grew along the banks of the Connecticut River.
Nowadays, the Connecticut River valley north of Hartford, Connecticut is known as “Tobacco Valley”, and the fields are visible to those who are traveling on the road to and from Bradley International Airport, the major Connecticut airport. The tobacco that is grown there is known as Shade Tobacco because it is grown under tents that protect the tobacco from exposure to the sunlight This is almost the same case when trees are growing in tropical areas in the shade.
The result are leafs of beautiful color and of a delicate structure. They are used as outer wrappers for a few of the world’s best cigars.
Nobody knows who introduced the method of growing that tobacco, but is known for sure that is a very good method. And it is also likely that the New York firm of Schroeder & Bon were important in developing this agricultural innovation.
Early Connecticut colonists took from the Native Americans the habit of smoking tobacco in pipes and began cultivating the plant commercially, in the same time the Puritans considered it as the “evil weed”.
The plant was outlawed in Connecticut in 1650, but in the 1800s as cigar smoking began to be very well known, tobacco producing became a huge industry, offering jobs to the farmers, local youths, laborers, southern African Americans, and migrant workers. The conditions for working were different starting from backbreaking work for young local children, ages 13 and up, to backbreaking exploitation of migrants.
Many persons have started with cigarette smoking and forgot about cigar smoking, that have caused a corresponding decline in the demand for shade tobacco, having a minimum in 1992 of 2,000 acres (8 km²) under cultivation. Since that period, cigar smoking has become more popular again, and in 1997 tobacco farmers had risen to 4,000 acres (16 km²). But still only 1,050 acres (4.2 km²) of shade tobacco were harvested in the Connecticut Valley in 2006.
In Ecuador labor is very cheap and that is why Connecticut seed is grown there,