|Quiotes are us: The huge stalks of the|
tequila agaves appear suddenly, and
just as quickly shrivel up and vanish.
We planted four in a rock garden against the stone wall of our back terrace maybe eight years ago and until this year they behaved rather demurely, keeping a rounded, architectural shape. Then early this spring each put up a massive stalk, about eight inches in diameter, that kept growing, I could swear, at a rate of six inches a day. I wish I'd had a time-lapse video camera to capture this astonishing growth spurt.
The best part came when the stalks reached about twelve feet and began putting out candelabra-type branches covered with yellow flowers. A neighbor last year saved one of the larger stalks, spray-painted it white and used it as Christmas tree on his front yard.
|Three of the four agaves abutting our|
back terrace. The fourth didn't put up a
stalk and remained.
In fact, Félix and Stew have checked our three beehives and predict a bumper crop of honey in the fall, certainly good news compared to the meager production of the past two years. I haven't asked the bees, but I have to believe the agave flower extravaganza stimulated their production of honey.
Then this week, the flower show was over and they were replaced by substantial elongated seed pods that dangled from the branches like ornaments on a Christmas tree. The wind loosened the seedpods and carried them all over, including our terrace, where we found several dozen scattered on the flagstone. Some undoubtedly blew over the ground several feet in every direction, and a lucky few will germinate and produce the next crop of tequila agaves.
|The spent flowers and |
subsequent seed pods
of the tequila agave.
At the end of the tequila agave's life cycle, the tequila-making part of the show would start, using the pineapple-shape core at the bottom that kept the whole plant together and is now crushed, cooked, fermented and distilled. When grown commercially, the agave leaves are chopped off, and the center core harvested, long before the huge sprouts appear.
|Félix, mano-a-mano with the |
massive core of one tequila
agave, which weighed about
On the internet I found several supposed culinary uses for the agave plants, particularly the massive stalks. But we're not going there either. Recently it seems as if life is become too short to undertake any more agricultural or cooking projects or experiments. Collecting and bottling honey and keeping a vegetable garden going are enough of a chore already.
My apologies to disappointed readers who expected some free tequila: Go buy your own. But call me in the fall and I'll sell you some honey.