Part 2 // Faces of Lunazul

Note to reader: If you haven’t read Part I of our adventure in Tequila, click here before reading below!

Like some of you reading this, I too, have always been a big fan of tequila. But after spending two days in the Jalisco region, I can say I have a new found appreciation for tequila and the entire process behind it. And production aside, it’s really the people behind the tequila that make it so special. This remarkable team of jimadores that we spent time with in the Lunazul agave fields, was made of up multiple generations, most of them related by blood. We learned that a majority of the fields operate this way - hiring from within their own families and passing down the tradition from one generation to the next. We spoke to fathers, uncles, brothers and sons, some as young as 17 and others working well in to their late 60’s. Watching these men sharpen their coa and cut loose piña after piña is like watching artists at work. They move with a rhythm and grace that only comes from years of experience, each one with their own style, all working seamlessly together. 

 



Rafael Beltran Ávila

 



Sergio Miramonte Rivera
 

The younger men in the group are the apprentices, they chop the piñas in half once they are cut loose from the roots by a jimador. After chopping, they proceed to do all the heavy lifting and carry each piece to the trucks for loading. These novice farmers are restricted to using only their hands and an axe until they earn the right to hold a coa. Formally referred to as a coa de jima (“hoe for harvesting”), it resembles a long wooden gardening hoe with a sharp oval blade at the end, used to cut the leaves and core of the agave plant. Every dozen plants or so, the jimadores stop and pull out a blade to sharpen the end of their coa, again artistry at play here, folks. There is a beautiful comradery between these men. They talk and laugh through the morning hours, pushing each other to keep pace as they take down row after row of plants. Around 10am the fog breaks and the sun begins to heat up, we are surrounded by red clay-like soil covered in dismantled blue tones of agave leaves. You can smell the scent of the plants nectar in the muggy air. 

 



Antonio Pérez Alvarado & Miguel Ángel Perez Alvarado

 



Gaudencio Gutiérrez Marín

 

It was beautiful to watch these fathers, brothers and sons work together like a well-oiled machine. The irony being that there are absolutely no machines involved in this process. And we knew this fact to be true before making the journey to Jalisco. This was what had drawn us to Lunazul and ultimately why we chose to serve our guests this tequila in the first place. We make it a priority to source products that are made by hand and created with the same care and attention to detail that we provide in our kitchens. But I hadn’t fully understood just how handcrafted the process was until we were there, standing in an agave field, seeing it all. 

 



José Israel Amescuas Contreras

 

In the late afternoon, we pack up our gear and use sticks to scrape the thick layers of clay-like dirt off of our boots. We hop in the back of a white pickup and follow one of the big trucks filled with piñas as they head back down the muddy labyrinth towards the highway. Our next stop is the distillery, located just a few miles down the highway, where we will follow the journey of the piñas from raw plant to bottled tequila. We are told that there will be tequila and cold beer waiting for us when we arrive. It’s like they were reading our minds. Just one more reason to love this magical place. 

To be continued… Stay tuned for part III of our adventure in Tequila, Jalisco.

Words + Photography by Rebecca Simms
Questions? Comments? Email: 
rsimms@lazydogrestaurants.com

You may also like

Part 3 // the joy of gin
April 16th
Part 2 // home is where the gin is
April 9th
Part 1 // of all the gin joints
April 2nd
RECIPE: Meyer Lemon Margarita
February 22nd
Part 3 // A Gift from Mexico to the World
February 12th
Part 1 // Tequila, Jalisco
January 31st
Behind-the-Scenes: Liquid Blanket Beer Video
October 25th
United By Blue X Lazy Dog
October 18th
The Art of Farming
October 15th
eat + meet
Behind-the-Scenes: Tilted Saddle Artwork
October 11th
Beer Club Is Here
October 1st
Our Seasonal Menu Is Here!
September 25th
Behind-the-Scenes: Sun Spanked Beer Video
September 18th
DIY: Peaches & Moonshine
September 13th
New Can Release: Tilted Saddle Saison
September 10th
Brunch: Behind-the-Scenes
August 31st
eat + meet
DIY: Watermelon Margarita
August 17th
Artichokes: A Family Affair
August 15th
eat + meet
Buffalo Trace
April 12th
License Plate Jim: A Man with a Plan
April 1st
Lazy Dog Sculpture Artist - Terry Jones
October 20th