When Martin Antemate Velasco was a child growing up in San Andres Tuxtla, Veracruz he worked in his dad’s tobacco field after school. “It’s just what everyone did back then,” explains Martin.
At age 14, Martin started to work in the Nueva Matacapan cigar factory in his home town. The first month he was paid $25 pesos a day to work as an apprentice under Cuban teacher Fidel Gomez. After he observed for a month, he was set down at a table to roll cigars. The first ones weren’t very good but after three months he was rolling good cigars. His teacher saw that Martin had potential. After one year of rolling cigars he was promoted to quality control where he checked 5,000-10,000 cigars a day. After a few years Martin became a teacher himself and he taught 100 rollers, many of whom are still at the factory today.
Martin started his own company Cigars Don Martin and moved to Puerto Vallarta in 2002. He buys the tobacco from a friend in San Andres who is one of the few small tobacco growers left. Martin still hand rolls every cigar using the same method he learned from Fidel Gomez. “All premium cigars are hand-made,” explains Martin. He also uses long filler tobacco which is long pieces of tobacco which run the length of the cigar, rather than chopped pieces of machine-made cigars.
Martin offers a wide variety of cigars to meet every smoker’s desire. From the tiny 25 ring Panetela to the fat 70 ring Churchill and everything in between—mini coronitas, coronitas, coronas, lanceritos, robustos and torpedos. He also has four different strengths or bodies as described in cigar terms—full (strong), medium, mild and light.
Martin also makes custom cigars for weddings and baby showers. He puts the names and dates on the cigar rings.
You can find Martin at the Olas Altas Farmers Market every Saturday from the first Saturday in November to the last Saturday in April. You can actually try any of his cigars at his booth.
He also sells at The La Cruz market on Sundays, Nuevo Vallarta on Tuesdays, Marina Vallarta on Thursday evenings and Sayulita on Fridays. To place an order you can contact Martin at 322 779 0055 or martin_ant. firstname.lastname@example.org and on facebook at cigar don martin.
Olas Altas Farmers Market
If you’re looking for the perfect spot to enjoy tradi- tional Mexican crafts, live music and delicious artisan food, look no further than the Olas Altas Farmers Market. We offer over 90 booths of “Handmade and Home- grown” goodies as well as prepared foods such as tamales, tacos, homemade ice cream, paella, fish tacos, pozole, Indian food, empanadas, Thai food, gourmet hot dogs, vegan and vegetarian dishes and baked goods, all just steps away from the
famous Los Muertos Beach. You can also find musical instruments, soaps, jewelry, meat pies, cheese, leather bags, jams and jellies, blown glass, produce, herbs, honey, baklava, cigars, clothes, paper mache figures and fermented foods.
We’re open from 9:30 to 2:00 pm every Saturday from the first Saturday in November to the last Saturday in April. We’re located in the Lazaro Cárdenas Park in Vallarta’s Emiliano Zapata neighborhood. For only 20 pesos an hour, you can park in the garage directly beneath the park.