Smoke seeps from a dark-fired tobacco barn in Calloway County, West Kentucky.  September 8, 2005.  11:36 a.m. CDT.

*2005 index page
*Standalone photo

     Most tobacco grown in Kentucky is a type known as burley, which has a medium-light leaf and is cured by air-drying in an open barn.  But in far west Kentucky, a darker, heavier tobacco is grown and is cured inside closed barns heated by smoldering fires of sawdust and oak or hickory slabs.
    Known as "dark-fired" tobacco, it's used for chewing tobacco and snuff.  The area of the state where it's grown has been referred to as the "Black Patch", for the dark color of the fire-cured leaf.
    At the opposite end of the tobacco color spectrum is "bright" tobacco, a light leaf grown mostly in the Carolinas.  Bright tobacco is the major component of American cigarettes.
    The yellow plants in the foreground of this picture are not tobacco, but are ripening soybeans.

Posted September 10, 2005.