Dedicated to all things tequila
The agave is not a cactus as rumored, but belongs to the lily family and has long spiny leaves (pincas). The specific plant that is used to make tequila is the Weber blue agave which is native to the town of Tequila in Mexico. More than 100 million agaves cover the hills of the Sierra Madre, west of the city of Guadalajara. The agave has a high sugar content making it an ideal ingredient for alcoholic beverages.
The agave plant grows in high altitudes of over 1500 feet in rich sandy soils and each plant produces thousands of seeds from yellow flowers which grow out of long stalks after around 4 or 5 years. These stalks are removed from the plant to allow the growth to be focused on the heart of the plant. The stalks can be replanted to increase cultivation of the blue agave.
It takes 8-12 years for the agave to reach maturity. The agave plant is harvested by a Jimador, during harvest, the leaves are cut off leaving the heart of the plant or pina which looks like a large pineapple when the jimadors are done. The harvested pina may weigh 200 pounds or more and is chopped into smaller pieces for cooking at the distillery.
This beautiful agave forms clumps with rosettes which individually are 2 1/2 feet tall by to 3 feet wide. Older clumps build up to form large dense masses to up to 5 feet tall. The flexible blue-green leaves have finely serrate margins and terminal spine. The blue cast to the leaves form from a glaucus waxy cuticle that covers the surface of the younger leaves.
More than 100 million agaves cover the hills of the Sierra Madre, west of the Mexican city of Guadalajara.