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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Virginia Shortage? What Shortage?

DistillingJim

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#1
I'm hearing stories today about how there's a terrible shortage of 'quality' Red Virginia being grown and how McClelland 5100 is being retired because they cant get the leaf anymore and meantime I'm sitting here, 12 months into playing with whole leaf (bought and grown), and I already have more tobacco than I could smoke in 5 years, most of which I prefer to the stuff I could buy, and I'm literally just chuckling.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I wanted to share.
 

Jitterbugdude

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#2
I know a few years ago WLT did not have any Red Virginia. Don said it was too crappy and that he would not sell it. Maybe there is something to the supply not being up to snuff (or is it snus?) but I suspect the real reason McClellend stopped producing their 5100 is probably related to other issues such as lack of a certain chemical for casing. It sounds much more noble to say that you are not going to produce 5100 because of inferior leaf as opposed to saying you can't source a certain chemical for your ketchup casing.

It would be nice if Don can chime in with more details on the quantity/quality/availability of Red Virginia.
 

BigBonner

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#3
I know a few years ago WLT did not have any Red Virginia. Don said it was too crappy and that he would not sell it. Maybe there is something to the supply not being up to snuff (or is it snus?) but I suspect the real reason McClellend stopped producing their 5100 is probably related to other issues such as lack of a certain chemical for casing. It sounds much more noble to say that you are not going to produce 5100 because of inferior leaf as opposed to saying you can't source a certain chemical for your ketchup casing.

It would be nice if Don can chime in with more details on the quantity/quality/availability of Red Virginia.
It could possibly be a FDA thing with ingredients that are used .

You have to remember that quality for big tobacco is not as important as the quality that Don sells . Don makes sure that leaves are good and of good quality for his customers .
Now big tobacco will complain if quality is not good from farmers but they will take any leaf , good quality or bad and thresh it up in small pieces . Good , bad and trash tobacco gets mixed together and made into cigarettes .
Tobacco Farmers used to hand tie tobacco everywhere tobacco was grown, Appearance of a farmers tobacco was important to farmers back then . They took pride in their years work . Then tobacco companies started buying in small bales 1' x 3' x 2.5' in size . In small bales tobacco was laid with the ends pointing out and is somewhat orderly . Now days tobacco companies are buying big bales . With big bales there is no order , tobacco is tossed and tromped into big 4' x'4 square bales all mangled together .
 

DistillingJim

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#4
Interesting insight. Would certainly explain why there is only one specific tobacco in jeopardy from only one company. Will be interesting to see if other companies have issues and I would also love to hear Don's insight.
 

FmGrowit

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#5
I was told there was no Red this year. Last year I couldn't get Cutters, but had plenty of Red. This year, I have tons of Cutters and no bales of Red. We'll grade out the Red from the Bright crop, but we'll definitely be short on Red this year.
 

burge

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#6
I am lucky to have a pound of red from 2 years ago and letting it age. I still have not tried the red tips yet. I just shredded some lemon from 2 years ago an its tasty and yellower than the crop from last year. This years crop I posted a pic on the sale for Black Friday. It seems that leaf changes every year and like wine some years are a really good vintage. I find Bigs orangey lemon to be more of a natural red. This years lemon had a different taste because it was completely new leaf after pressing it and letting it sit it got better and better. I have one or 2 bags left from my first ever order and that stuff was pure yellow in colour. I can hardly wait to try some of that. The good thing is with exceptional quality the leaf will get better and better as it ages. That is the beauty of Dons and Bigs leaf. The other stuff from the competition not even close. There Canadian does not change its commercial leaf and it feels like its just as Big mentioned a bale put together and called Canadian. I am only buying now from Don and Bfg.
 

CobGuy

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#7
I've been seeing the same thing on pipe forums and laughing all the way to WLT.com :)

My last Red Cake pressed from WLT's Red FCV ( about 30% of it Stoved / Cavendished via pressure cooker) was phenomenal.
 

RoyF

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#11
I'd like to grow some Red Virginia tobacco (similar to 5100 and/or McCrainies) from seed, but I know nothing about them. What tobacco varieties resemble Red Virginias? Can't seem to find any seed under the heading of 'Red Virginia'.
 

deluxestogie

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#12
Welcome to the forum. Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself forum. If you enter your general location into your profile, it will appear beside each of your posts, and be a help to other members in answering your questions about growing.

So called "Red Virginia" tobacco is made from flue-cure varieties (most "Virginia" varieties). The leaf is harvested several leaves at a time from each plant, as it matures from the bottom of the stalk upward. It must then be flue-cured. The lowest leaf produces very thin "first priming" light yellow. Next up on the stalk produces "Lemon Virginia". Above that the leaf flue-cures to a thicker, orange to reddish color.

If all you want is Red Virginia, and not Lemon, it's far easier to simply purchase the whole leaf Red Virginia from WLT (banner at the top of the page).

To grow it yourself:
  • Read the FAQ (link at top of the page) about growing tobacco
  • Check out the Flue-Curing section of the Index of Key Forum Threads: http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/3868-Key-threads-in-the-FTT-forum
  • Purchase some seed (for example, Virginia Bright Leaf)
  • Build a flue-curing chamber (~$100)
  • Successively harvest your leaf, flue-curing each batch (~5 days per batch)--typically a 6 week period for the whole crop
  • Use the later, upper primings of leaf for pipe blending
  • Stare at the beautiful, lighter colored leaf that comprises about 2/3 of your crop, and decide what to do with it all
Bob
 
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#14
I know a few years ago WLT did not have any Red Virginia. Don said it was too crappy and that he would not sell it. Maybe there is something to the supply not being up to snuff (or is it snus?) but I suspect the real reason McClellend stopped producing their 5100 is probably related to other issues such as lack of a certain chemical for casing. It sounds much more noble to say that you are not going to produce 5100 because of inferior leaf as opposed to saying you can't source a certain chemical for your ketchup casing.

It would be nice if Don can chime in with more details on the quantity/quality/availability of Red Virginia.
I think you're on to something with that. Personally I like the McKetchup taste and I'm doing my best to replicate it. With some guidance from Bob, I'm preparing to stove some Va Red tips in a 50/50 Vinegar/Distilled water solution to see how it measures up to the McKetchup....that post is incoming soon!
 
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