All images by Giacomo Bruno. Used with Creative Commons permission.
Can you guess which of Mexico’s “raw gold” can be found in the state of Jalisco? If not, perhaps the mere mention of the agave plant will be a vital clue. Yes, it’s the tequila most likely coursing through your veins from your night out before. If you’re curious about a day in the life of the people who bring tequila to the rest of the world, you’ll be delighted to have a glimpse through Giacomo’s quick set.
As with his other “raw gold” series taken in Mexico, The Raw gold of México: Tequila takes to the fields where it all begins, and introduces us to the people who make the magic of tequila happen. Interestingly, Giacomo tells us that he photographed them in the valley of Tequila, a town in the state of Jalisco which is best known as the birthplace of the spirit that bears its name. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which is native to the town.
Aside from the agave, the stars of this “raw gold” series are the jimadores — Mexican farmers who harvest the agave for the production of tequila and other alcoholic beverages, mezcal and sotol. Giacomo shows them with their primary tool, the coa de jima, a flat-bladed knife attached to a long wooden handle. It’s used to cut the leaves of the agave and pry it off its roots to get the core or heart called the piña, which is processed to make the famous drink.
The series is short but sweet, just like Giacomo’s set on coffee farming in Mexico’s highlands. But at least we get to see how the jimadores set to work harvesting the agave piña, something we don’t often see or hear about. Since we only get one close up portrait, it’s easy to imagine how busy a day in the life of a jimador can be. That is something to keep in mind the next time you down a shot of tequila!