the picture


Typical Kentucky tobacco barn near Midway, KY.

It’s harvest time in Kentucky! Tobacco barns were once a ubiquitous sight along Kentucky’s rural highways, but are becoming increasingly rare each year. The barns, used for air-curing tobacco, have declined along with the tobacco industry.  Barn designs vary greatly around the country and even within a region – it seems every tobacco farmer has his/her own preference!

As a child, I rarely visited the old family farm where my grandfather grew up.  It was rarer still that the visits coincided with  the tobacco harvest, but to this day seeing the golden leaves hanging row after row brings on waves of nostalgia.  When I see a tobacco barn during harvest time, I can smell the scent of mingling  dust and  sweet tobacco,  feel the steady, heavy heat inside the barn, and see the dust motes drifting and dancing in shafts of bright sunlight from the slatted walls against the dark barn wood and dirt floor. Memory is funny that way, isn’t it?

What are your favorite harvest time sights? Share in the comments!



  1. Nika

    I also remember visiting relatives in Kentucky and the tobacco barns. But my favorite harvest memories are of ‘stomping’ cotton. After the cotton was picked, it was loaded into trailers and all the kids would climb in and ‘stomp’ it. This was a lot of fun and served the practical purpose of compacting the cotton.

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