OK, so Cindy Bablitz wants to know "what gives?" on the tobacco we're growing in the garden this year. It's a good question.
First off, I am not a smoker--although I used to be. A long, long, time ago. Now I'm that super-anti-smoker crazy person who former smokers tend to turn into. Just ask the nurses blocking the sidewalk in front of the hospital down the street from my house with their cloud of cigarettte smoke about the nutso CFA. (CFA = "Comes From Away" in local parlance.)
Dh and I have toyed with the idea of ceremonially smoking tobacco for years, although I always get the former smoker wigguns about it. Our conversations, though, have gotten me pretty curious about the history of tobacco.
The seeds we're growing are tobacco rusticana, which is quite a different strain than what goes into commercial cigarettes. For one thing, the nicotine content is several times higher. It's a mighty powerful plant, used for ritual purposes by all kinds of people for the past 4,000 years.
So, when I saw the seeds listed in the catalogue for $3, I couldn't resist joining the hordes of human history who have grown it. It's supposed to be a nice ornamental, too. I'm curious to watch it grow. I want to smell it, warm and fresh and musky on a summer day. I don't know whether I'll be able to bring myself to smoke any, but at the very least we'll give some to our smoker friend Jim. Jim, our own personal canary in the mineshaft. If he smokes it and is still tweeting... maybe we'll give it a shot.