The Jimador is the artisan who harvests the Agave plant from the Agave fields. His knowledge allows him to recognize when the Agave plant is ready for harvesting as each plant will grow and mature at a different rate. As the Agave plant reaches maturity (8-12 years), a stalk or spike (Quiote) will begin to grow from the Agave, and the Jimador will cut and remove the stalk. The energy from the plant's flowering cycle will then encourage growth on the core of the Agave. The plant will be ready for harvesting 2-3 months later. The key to harvesting the Agave plant is to get the maximum sugar content before the piña begins to ferment.
The Jimador uses a special tool, a Coa, which is a long wooden handle with a sharp circle cutting blade at the bottom. He thrusts the Coa with an exact precision to cut the leaves (Pencas) off of the Agave and reveal the core, which is called the piña. The piña looks like a large pineapple, and can weigh as much as 150 pounds.
From there the piñas are loaded on horses and/or trucks and taken back to the distillery.
Jimador Fun Facts:
- A Jimador can harvest a piña in 60 seconds or less
- The fastest Jimador in Mexico can harvest a piña in 20 seconds
- His total harvest for each day will be several hundred piñas, which can average over 5 tons