It's the blue volcanic soil in the Mexican state of Jalisco that creates the perfect conditions for the blue agave plant to grow. After about five years of enduring a dearth of beatings from the sun, agaves sprout a quiote, a large stem that protrudes from the core, piña, which can grow more than 15 feet high. Often agave farmers cut the stalk because it saps the energy from the piña.
If the quiote were left to rise, a flower would bloom at the top, which would then be pollinated by bats. Shortly after, the plant dies.
Fortunately for tequila drinkers, the quiote is cut and the agave marinates in the rich and sandy soils for up to 15 years. Then the piña is harvested by slicing off its thick pointy leaves with a spade-like shovel.