An Interview with Litto Gomez and Ines Lorenzo-Gomez
Owners, La Flor Dominicana
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, Jan/Feb 00
(continued from page 13)
There are a lot of questions. Is the whole system going to fall apart? Or will we suddenly have the opportunity to go there within the present system and try to make cigars there, or try to grow tobacco in Cuba and bring it to the Dominican Republic? For the consumers it is going to be a tremendous thing. And I can't wait until it happens.
For cigarmakers, working with tobacco is what it's all about. We know how tobacco reacts and we know how tobacco works, but year after year crops are different and tobacco leaves react differently. Tobacco talks to you and you have got to know the language that it's speaking. I've tried some experiments, and they are stunning. We are just waiting and watching to see what the changes are and we are going to get our foot in there and start to make friends.
Lorenzo-Gomez: In general it will benefit everybody. I believe that there will be a lot of new smokers for all of us. There are a lot of people who will want to try Cuban cigars because they have never had the opportunity. We are going to get another boom.
CA: As you did with your farm, you also started your own factory two years ago. How is that project going?
Gomez: Basically, the same people who started with us in Villa Gonzales are still with us. We still have the rollers that used to work with us. They don't want to leave us. When there were factories offering them more money, I spent a lot of time explaining to them that they cannot just be thinking about money. They need to think about their families and their future and the long-term relationship. They must continue to be proud of what they do. If anybody tells you that they achieve perfection, it is a lie. It is not about perfection. It is about artistry. Because you can't perfect a cigar. It has a flavor, it has a blend, and it is kind of like a chef creating a dish. With cigars you need the rollers to be concentrating on what they are doing and be proud of what they are doing. You can't make it work as a machine operator because it is never going to happen. They cannot be working unhappy because if they are working unhappy they are not going to blend the cigars properly. You can give them the blend, but they can make all the cigars with one type of leaf and there is no way that you can control it if some rollers want to hurt you. So, you need to be very close to them and work with them and let them know that they should take pride in what they are doing.
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