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been stripped from the stalk in housing, they are taken down in the 6ame manner, but the condition of the systems must be carefully inspected.
The best planters now have, under their assorting and stripping rooms, a cellar six or eight feet deep, with tier poles put in, upon which the tobacco may be hung
FIO. 109. HARVESTING YELLOW TOBACCO. These plants were strung on sticks in field and drawn to barn on sled. Pines with return pipes shown iii front of barn. Coffee county, Central Tennessee.
to bring it into any order that may be required. Such a cellar makes one independent of the weather, and permits the work to go on at all times.
The asserting of yellow tobacco requires a strong light and a discriminating eye for colors on the part of the assorter. From six to fifteen grades are made by the planters. In fact, the prices depend, in a large measure, upon proper grading.
Bright wrappers are sometimes classified into three or more grades, as orange, lemon and mahogany; lugs into two or more grades, as sand and smooth lugs. Sometimes a third grade is made, called wrapping lugs. When the grade between the wrappers and lugs is of good body, and sweet, it is called fillers. When it is thin or light bodied, it is called cutters. These two classes, or grades, are sometimes interchangeable. The smokers are good bright lugs, or worm-eaten leaves of bright color. The highest grade of the yellow tobacco, and that which commands the best prices, has a large leaf of a bright lemon color, with yellow fibers, of good body, with silky texture, tough, elastic, oily, with no holes or spots or ragged edges. It is not unusual for this grade to bring 40 to 65 cents per pound. From this grade are made "extra wrappers." Orange-yellow perfect leaves command the next highest prices, then the mahogany wrapper. Clear yellow trash, or lugs greatly torn, will bring more money than perfect leaves that have a dull, greenish appearance. In fact, to avoid curing a crop green is the greatest ambition of the yellow-tobacco grower, and his success depends largely upon his ability to reduce the greenish-tinged tobacco to the minimum. Thin, papery tobacco, brittle, inelastic, easily torn and destitute of oil, will not bring a good price, however good the color may be.
The classification, as adopted in the Danville, Va., market, probably the largest yellow-tobacco market in the world, is as follows:
Wrappers.—The picked leaves, finest and brightest and most perfect leaves on the stalk. This grade will make one-sixth of the crop.
Fillers.—This is every grade except smokers', wrappers and cutters, and constitutes about one-half the crop.
Smokers.—Generally the lug leaves, which are the bottom leaves, and torn, worm-eaten or bruised leaves; in the aggregate making one-sixth of the crop.
Cutters.—Inferior to the wrappers, and superior to the smokers, deficient in color to wrappers, but more perfect leaves and heavier in body than smokers. These constitute one-sixth of the crop sold.
The description of the sub-grades is as follows:
Wrappers.—1. Common wrappers: Lowest grade of wrapper, and only a grade above a bright filler. 2. Medium wrapper: Not uniform in color, dingy, or piebald, but of good form and quality. 3. Good wrapper: Tobacco of heavy body, orange color, generally styled mahogany. 4. Fine wrapper: Second grade of lemon color, but inferior to the fancy. 5. Fancy wrapper: Fine, delicate fiber, silky, fresh lemon color, very leafy, perfect leaves, and the highest class made in assorting.
Fillers.—1. Common: All of the inferior and nondescript grades. 2. Medium: Good, rich lugs, and the dark leaves with good body. 3. Good: Tips, and the better and brighter heavy lugs and short leaves with body. 4. Fine: All the brightest, best and richest leaves next below common wrapper, and generally of a gray and cherry-red color.
Smokers.—1. Lowest grade: Worm-eaten and discolored. 2. Brown and short leaves. 3. Grade above four, and not so colory. 4. Best smooth lugs, which make the highest class of smokers
Cutters.—1. Thin, papery leaves, thrown out from fine fillers when assorting; lowest grade. 2. Same grade as three, but not so colory. 3. Fine cutters, leafy and inferior leaves taken from stalk that produced the best wrappers.
Of all the product of the tobacco plant in America, the Perique—its culture, caring and preparation for market—is the most interesting; not on account of the quantity produced, or of its importance to commerce, but because of the peculiarity of the people by whom it is grown, and the singular method by which it is cured. Its culture is confined to a very limited area in Louisiana, and to a class of people whose history is full of suffering and pathos—the Arcadians.
One of their number, Pierre Chenet, introduced the cultivation of tobacco and taught his countrymen how to prepare it for market, by making tightly wrapped rolls, called carottes, that could be carried to market and handled with ease. In his honor, the tobacco so prepared was called Perique. For nearly 100 years, this tobacco has been grown in St. James Parish, with but little variation as to quantity, except when calamity visits the people. In 18.39 the product of the Parish was 22,000 pounds, in 1869 it was reduced to 3450 pounds, by reason of political troubles. In 1879 it rose to 14,680 pounds, and in 1889 the quantity produced was almost identical with that of 1S59, being 22,300 pounds.
There are two places in St. James Parish where Perique tobacco is grown. One of the points lies immediately on the left bank of the Mississippi river, the post village Convent being about the longitudinal center. The other is on the same side of the river at Grande Pointe, which is three miles from the river, and occupies an insular position beyond the swamps, which here run parallel with the course of the river.
These spots are elevated only a few feet above the encompassing swamps, but they are well drained and have friable, sandy and calcareous soils, black, deep and exceedingly fertile. Soil here, as well as everywhere, has a controlling influence on the quality of the product. The soils on the river bank at Convent are a gray alluvium, and the tobacco is brighter in color, but comparatively destitute of gummy matter, and, therefore, not so well adapted to the manufacture of Perique as that grown in black soils in the Vacheries, where the tobacco is fine, but gummy, elastic and of good body. The best soils are those known as magnolia soils, which are dark in color, but made friable by a suitable admixture of sand. They are warm and well drained. Black lands mixed w ith yellow sands are the next in order of preference. Where the lands are lacking in the sandy material they compact so closely that the tobacco plant does not grow in healthful vigor.
The variety planted is called the Perique, which has a leaf of medium size, is a rapid grower, small stem, and fiber tough and gummy, curing to a dark brown color. Its rapidity of growth is probably due to the warm situation and fertile soils on which it is produced.
The making of seed beds is unlike the same work in other States. It begins in October. Cow manure at that time is applied to the depth of six inches to a chosen spot in the forest, and turned under with a spade. In December the bud is reworked, but not burned, and ditches are cut through it to secure drainage. The seed is sown the first of January, and the bed is then covered with palmetto leaves, as a safeguard against the frosts of February.