CLERMONT, Fla. - The old timers say tobacco grows so fast you can hear it grow. Jeff Borysiewicz demonstrated, standing next to a 5-foot-tall plant.
"75 days ago this plant was about that tall," Borysiewicz said, separating his fingers three inches.
When you arrive at his property, the Florida Sun Grown Tobacco Farm in Clermont, about 70 miles from Tampa, you're transported back in time about 100 years.
Tobacco grows quickly under the Florida sun, as Jeff Borysiewicz demonstrates at his Clermont farm
One at a time, each tobacco leaf is put on machines that were built in Connecticut nearly 100 years ago.
The leaves are sewn, strung, hung, and cured. After about 90 days, the crop is delivered to the J.C. Newman Cigar Company in Tampa.
Tobacco curing barn is "where the magic happens"
Nothing about curing this tobacco is fast or new. It's the only way to get tobacco worthy of premium, hand-rolled cigars.
The specific cigar made from Florida Sung Grown Tobacco Farm tobacco is called The American.
The American cigar from J.C. Newman Cigar Company in Ybor City
"The American is all 100% American tobacco," says Borysiewicz. "It uses wrapper from our farm, filler from Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and it’s hand-made in the J.C. Newman factory in Tampa."
J.C. Newman Cigar Company, then and now
Borysiewicz flicks a long ash off his cigar as he smiles and looks at the tobacco in the curing barn.
"I kind of look at it as a working museum. We’re just bringing something back. A little piece of history."