09 Jun Foundation Cigar Co. Settles Into New Space In The Connecticut River Valley
When Nick Melillo of Foundation Cigar Co. was told that his old office in Windsor, Connecticut, was going to be torn down and the land sold off, he needed a new place to go. Staying in the Connecticut River Valley—where broadleaf, shade and other tobacco is grown—was non-negotiable. Now, his company has a new home in Ellington, right across the street from a tobacco field, and Melillo couldn’t be happier.
“It would have made more economic sense to operate out of Florida,” Melillo explains as he’s about to light up a not-yet-released cigar. The Connecticut native sits in his office at a rustic, roughly-hewn desk made with planks that look fresh off a sawmill. “But it didn’t make sense in my mind seeing how you have one of the few places in the U.S. growing tobacco here in the Connecticut River Valley.”
It’s an overcast June day in the Valley, and the planting season for tobacco is just starting. Seedlings are being transplanted from greenhouses to freshly-tilled fields, and this will go on for the next few weeks. Ellington is not far from the Massachusetts border, and the bucolic Valley is home to a patchwork of tobacco farms, most of which are punctuated by distressed red barns that have been standing for decades.