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Like a chef, each farmer had his own recipe, or regimen, for curing, or “cooking off,” the moisture. “Curing is a science, an art,” Monk says, “and a good tobacco farmer would learn all the tricks to produce the finest tobacco. He wanted his tobacco to be more sought-after than his neighbor’s, and therefore get a higher price.” During the three stages of curing, about six days total, temperatures in the barn would climb steadily upward, from 120 degrees to 135 to 160, finally topping out at 180 degrees — and in the hottest part of the summer. Mercury thermometers hung in the barn and outside it, as well. Every day, touch and appearance of the hanging leaves dictated the grower’s decision as to the interior temperature. Rain, or days with high humidity, slowed the curing, and the farmer would adjust the controlled temperatures accordingly. The leaves must be dry, but still pliable; too brittle and they would shatter.
~ Susan Stafford Kelly, Our State: Celebrating North Carolina
The Ghost of my Daddy's tobacco barn...
This was my view each morning as I waited for the school bus. This barn... just one of 3 that lived on my daddy's property. It now sits silently as a testament to a time long past when tobacco was king, remembered only by those who worked and witnessed the history that so permeated this region.a
These barns are a part of my history. To others, some people have a kind of fascination for these old buildings. There's a sadness when I see one falling in and thank goodness I have the ability to photograph and remember their history.
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