For nearly 175 years, Florida had a rich and storied history of growing some of the world's finest cigar tobacco. Florida was once the second largest producer of premium cigar tobacco in America. There were thousands of acres grown just north of Tallahassee in the towns of Quincy and Havana, Florida. In fact, the reason they named the town Havana, was so that unscrupulous tobacco brokers could label Florida grown tobacco bales as being grown in Havana and sell it at a premium to unsuspecting cigar factories all across America as the more expensive, imported tobacco from Havana, Cuba.
In the 1890's, Cuba was fighting for their independence from Spain. To escape the war and the blockade on Havana harbor, some Cuban tobacco growers established large tobacco farms in Fort Mead, Florida so they could continue to supply American cigar factories with tobacco. With Florida having a very similar climate, altitude and close proximity to Cuba, their tobacco farms thrived.
Unfortunately, due to the invention of the cigarette and the gradual decline in cigar consumption, the resulting closure of thousands of American cigar factories, the invention of homogenized tobacco wrappers, the high cost of American labor and the low cost of foreign labor, it was no longer economically feasible for Florida's farmers to grown cigar tobacco. For the next 70 years, the cigar industry continued to get smaller each year and as a result, the last crop of Florida cigar tobacco was grown in 1977 on a farm in Gadsen County, Florida.
As a proud American, I believed it was possible to bring cigar tobacco farming back to Florida, on a small-scale, limited production way. As a cigar retailer, I believed consumers would be willing to pay a little more for a cigars that contained genuine Florida grown cigar tobacco, as long as the tobacco was unique, distinctive, flavorful and of the highest quality. Fortunately, our Florida Sun Grown tobacco has all those qualities and more.
So in 2012, Corona Cigar Co. purchased a 20 acre plot of farm land 30 miles west of Orlando, in the town of Clermont, Florida. We began clearing the land, prepping the the soil, constructing our unique tobacco curing barn, installing irrigation and purchasing equipment.
In 2013 we planted our first test crop of Cuban seed Corojo tobacco not knowing what the results would be. History as well as science told us that we could successfully grow quality cigar tobacco in Florida and fortunately, our test crop proved that with just nature alone, we could grow good tobacco. With proper funding, research, modern agriscience combined with time honored, proven methods of cultivation, and a lot of hard work and a dedicated team, we could grow GREAT tobacco.
Since that first test crop we have grown six successful crops to date. Each year we continue to improve as we make adjustments to adapt to our unique growing environment. Our hard working, all-American farm team understand what it takes to make a premium cigar. They take take pride in growing the finest tobacco leaves and they know, years later, their tobacco will bear the Florida Sun Grown name on world class cigars.
It has been nearly forty years since any cigars were made with Florida tobacco. We are extremely happy to be able to bring back one of America's finest tobaccos and reintroduce the unique flavor of Florida tobacco to cigar aficionados world wide. We hope you enjoy these special cigars as much as we do.
Our FSG tobacco barn where we cure our tobacco that is proudly grown in the USA!
FSG tobacco seedling ready for transplanting in the field.
Each seedling is hand-planted into pre-formed rows that are fertilized and watered using environmentally friendly, drip irrigation.
Tanya Borysiewicz proudly displays a stick of FSG tobacco ready to hang in the curing barn.