Tobacco production in Samos – an old story gone.
During a period, in which vineyards were heavily harmed by phylloxera, a disease which destroyed them at a great extent in the end of 1800, the residents of Samos undertook a more difficult cultivation, that of tobaccos whereas many other were forced to immigrate, due to the crisis that followed. The cultivation of tobaccos lasted for less than a century, but it constituted an important activity. The preparations begun in January, with the preparation of the seed, in order for it be “centralized”, the fertilization of the field with dung and the formation of the field in furrows, “karikia”, as they were called. What followed was the sowing and the continuous watering. The protection of the plants from the sun was very demanding, which took place with mattings, as well as they spraying and the “de-weeding”, i.e. the removal of foreign weeds which grew in the cultivation. When the plant grew enough, then the “kirntisma” begun, which was the selection of the leaves, which took place in 5 phases, especially in August. The “kirntisma” was as well difficult, because it had to take place early in the morning, and it started before the first light. The reason was with the sun and the high temperature of the summer months, the plant excreted a gummy substance, which made the whole procedure difficult. After that, everybody was staying in the “tsardakia” (small huts), seated on the ground, and they started the “beloniasma”, i.e. the needling of the leaves in strings. The loaded strings were then hung on a long cane, which was supported on the “kremantalas”, which was a part of the drier. This is where the leaves stayed, until they took this distinctive golden yellow color. In September the sheaves were prepared and the final packaging, so as for them to be weighted and declared in the Community and then sold to the tobacco traders. At the same time as the tobacco production was flourishing, a new commercial branch was developed, with the cigarette industries and the tobacco warehouses, which gave a new lease of life, especially to Bathi and Karlovassi. The tobacco production stopped in the 60s, since the vineyards had already grown and the Association of Wine-Makers was supporting the production. On the other hand, there were also certain prohibitions and the tax on tobaccos, which led to this direction.