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TUESDAY September 6, 2022: 'FIELD OF DREAMS' Words and Pictures by Hartford Courant photographer Douglas Hook: On a Connecticut tobacco farm, 100 Jamaican migrant workers spend months living, cooking and harvesting tobacco together. The men have formed a bond with each other like a second family. The Jamaican's come over on the H2A work visas in April and most will stay until December earning a little over minimum wage. 'Americans are just not interested in working out in the fields for that pay' farmer Owen Jarmoc said. Welcome to 'FIELD OF DREAMS'
© Reportage.com Story of the Week #852: TUESDAY September 6, 2022: 'FIELD OF DREAMS' Words and Pictures by Hartford Courant photographer Douglas Hook: On a Connecticut tobacco farm, 100 Jamaican migrant workers spend months living, cooking and harvesting tobacco together. The men have formed a bond with each other like a second family. The Jamaican's come over on the H2A work visas in April and most will stay until December earning a little over minimum wage. 'Americans are just not interested in working out in the fields for that pay' farmer Owen Jarmoc said. Welcome to 'FIELD OF DREAMS'
The Jamaican field hands come to Connecticut each year to harvest tobacco, working very long days, sometimes seven days a week. During tobacco season, which ends in late fall, the workers live in two buildings that house 50 people cooking, sleeping and eating in Enfield and Somers.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
CLIVE BROWN gets ready to drive a vintage tractor to the farm in Enfield from the land in Somers where the tobacco leaves are being gathered. The Jamaican field hands come to Connecticut each year to harvest tobacco, working very long days, sometimes seven days a week.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
SELVIN BEECHER has been working at the Jarmoc tobacco fields since 1987. Rain starts to fall, but most workers stay to harvest the tobacco in Enfield. During tobacco season, which ends in late fall, the workers live in two buildings, each housing 50 people, in Enfield and Somers.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
All the hand picked tobacco leaves are loaded onto trailers and transported by tractor to one of the eight barns in Enfield to dry. The workforce of Jarmoc Farm is made up of 100 Jamaicans and 25 U.S. citizens.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
SAMMY JOHNSON, a Jamaican native, sharpens his axe he will use to cut the tobacco leaves down by hand. He and 99 other Jamaican's work the fields in Connecticut until the season ends in September. The field hands come to Connecticut each year to harvest tobacco, working very long days, sometimes seven days a week.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
All the tobacco leaves are piled onto tractors in Somers and transported to barns in Enfield to dry. The Jamaican field hands come to Connecticut each year to harvest tobacco, working long days, sometimes seven days a week. During tobacco season, which ends in late fall, the workers live in camps in Enfield and Somers.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
The Jamaican field hands come to Connecticut each year to harvest tobacco, working long days, sometimes seven days a week. During tobacco season, which ends in late fall, the workers live in two buildings, each housing 50 people in Enfield and Somers.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
A worker maneuvers a tractor and trailer loaded with green hand picked tobacco leaves into a barn in Enfield to dry.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
The newly harvested tobacco leaves are piled onto tractors in Somers and transported to huge wood barns in Enfield to dry.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
Bundles of dried tobacco leaves sit in storage at the farm. All of the 100 Jamaican workers wake at 5:30 a.m. to prepare breakfast and then head to harvest tobacco for Jarmoc Farms.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
Buses wait outside the workers accommodation ready to transport them to work the fields in Enfield. The workforce of Jarmoc Farm is made up of 100 Jamaicans and 25 U.S. citizens.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
Before sunrise tobacco workers are seen through a window of the accommodation building preparing breakfast and lunch before heading to the tobacco fields in Somers and Enfield.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
One of the workers wears stars and stripes socks in the kitchen as he prepares breakfast before heading to harvest tobacco for Jarmoc Farms. During tobacco season, which ends in late fall, the workers live in farm provided accommodation in Enfield and Somers.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
Tobacco worker, CLIVE BROWN wakes at roughly 5 a.m. to prepare breakfast and lunch in the kitchen before heading to the tobacco fields in Somers and Enfield. The workers fly from Jamaica to Connecticut in April and many stay until December.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
SAMMY JOHNSON and the other 99 Jamaicans wake at 5:30 a.m. He checks his phone in the early morning sitting on his bunk before making breakfast and heading to the fields to harvest tobacco for Jarmoc Farms.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
Workers in the kitchen before sunrise to prepare breakfast and lunch before heading to the tobacco fields in Somers and Enfield. The workers fly to Connecticut in April and many stay until December.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
LEE PRYCE has been working at Jarmoc Farm for 5 years. He will leave his family back in Jamaica and help to Harvest the tobacco leaves on land in Somers and Enfield. He and 100 other Jamaicans are housed at accommodation provided by the Jarmoc company in Enfield.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
In the dining room of the building, that is home to roughly 50 Jamaican tobacco workers, the TV displays the days weather. During August, temperatures can be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and the tobacco fields have no shade. One worker told the Courant that the hot weather doesn't bother them. He continued that the cold is what makes life difficult.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
LEE PRYCE checks the tomatoes that the workers planted outside their accommodations. Pryce has been working at Jarmoc Farm for five years. He leaves his family home in Jamaica and helps harvest the tobacco in fields in Somers and Enfield.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
The newly harvested tobacco leaves are loaded onto trailers pulled by vintage red tractors in the tobacco fields of Somers and then transported to huge wood barns in Enfield to dry.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
OSHANE EASY, originally from Jamaica, works the tobacco fields in Enfield. Although the tobacco field pay at USD 15.66 an hour is USD 1.66 over the minimum wage in Connecticut, farmer Owen Jarmoc said they couldn't find the workforce locally. 'Americans are just not interested in working out in the fields for that pay,' Owen Jarmoc said.
© Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/MCT via ZUMA Press Wire
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