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Ecuador: Land of Fire

Ecuadoran cigar wrapper tobacco thrives in a world of volcanoes and perpetual cloud cover.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
J.P. Morgan, Mar/Apr 00

(continued from page 3)

They step into the next barn. "Smell the difference," says David. The air is fresher and more leathery. The tobacco above is older, nearly ready to be taken down. Then it will be fermented in bulks and shipped to various customers around the world. (The Perezes don't disclose their clients' names.)  

"It's a good crop," says David. "Nice colors, nice textures."  

His neighbor to the west, John Oliva Jr., is just as happy with his harvest. "This is the best crop that we've had," he says. He steps from one of his curing barns as the mists swirl above him in the sky. Every few seconds, a drop of humidity falls like a lazy rain on his face.  

Oliva stoops, picking up a palmful of dark, gray soil. It's peppered with small stones, the byproduct of one of the dozens of volcanoes that constantly churn in this country.  

"Do you see how this land is?" He crumbles the dirt in his palm, seeing the same promise that brought his grandfather Angel to this country 25 years ago. Flecks of the rich soil drop on his boot. He looks up, a wide smile on his face, and shrugs his shoulders. "It's just very good land."

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