Native Americans were already successfully growing and harvesting tobacco in the Connecticut Valley when the first European settlers arrived there way back in the 1630s. Although Virginia tobacco crops that were being grown and used for pipe tobacco was more desirable at the time, the town of Windsor, Connecticut was founded in 1633 and soon became the center of the tobacco farming industry in the state. Tobacco from the Connecticut Valley was being exported to ports across Europe by 1700. Connecticut Broadleaf – named for its large leaf size – gained popularity in the late 1800s because of the tremendous yields available. Fine-grained shade tobacco imported from the island jungles of Sumatra, Indonesia made an appearance in the U.S. during the late 19th century. To re-create the jungle environment of Sumatra in Connecticut, growers used shade tents to diffuse the sunlight, increase humidity levels, and produce a thinner, milder, more delicate tobacco leaf.

Shade tobacco was also cultivated in the fertile fields of the Florida panhandle since before the Civil War, with the small town of Quincy laying claim to the title of the “shade-grown leaf-tobacco capital” at one time. However, the tobacco market in Quincy died in the 1970s when Central and South American countries seized the market.

Shade Tobacco Today

Since those early days of tobacco history, when shade tents were erected all along River Street in Windsor, Connecticut, and Florida tobacco growers dealt with treacherous hurricane seasons that threatened to wipe out their crops, the process of growing shade tobacco has evolved, but much about it remains the same. Today, light synthetic fabric is stretched across tobacco fields laid out in a grid set with posts and wires to provide shade from the hot Connecticut summer sun as the crops grow. Makers of premium cigars cherish the light, elastic, less oily Windsor tobacco leaves, which are used as the cigar’s outer wrapping. Shade leaf tobacco offers consumers a smoother smoking experience and is considered the best kind of tobacco to use for cigar wrapping. Connecticut shade tobacco is grown today in the Connecticut River Valley of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and southernmost Vermont.

To browse the various types of shade leaf tobacco for sale, check out our selection of shade tobacco for sale. For detailed information about purchasing whole leaf tobacco, contact Total Leaf Supply with your questions via email at, or give us a call today at (434) 247-1504. One of our friendly representatives will gladly assist you in choosing the perfect whole leaf tobacco to suit your needs.