Mission StatementDel Maguey is deeply dedicated to the biodiversity and rich cultural heritage of Oaxaca. The Single Village Bulletin will provide a first-hand look into the processes of Del Maguey and our commitment to leaving a positive impactful footprint in Oaxaca. Through interviews with palenqueros to videos of production to in-depth looks at our sustainability projects, the Bulletin will give you a clear understanding of Del Maguey's devotion to the cultures of Mexico, social responsibility, environmental responsibility and our core values.
Beekeeping in the Central Valleys
In our headquarter village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Del Maguey helps support the local ecology of flowering plants, including a wide spectrum of wild agave, through beekeeping.
In 2017, Jose Mendoza Martinez and Elvia Del Refugio Vasquez Zalvidar were passing the Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal headquarters in Teotitlan del Valle one afternoon with their beekeeping kit and they ran into Ron Cooper who had just encountered a bee issue in the bodega.
He invited them into the courtyard where they were both struck by Ron’s fearlessness approaching the bees. They helped move the bees to a new location that day and shortly thereafter, started assisting Del Maguey with beekeeping and reforestation projects.
Jose is a naturalist, beekeeper in Oaxaca. He built and runs the Del Maguey agave nursery in Teotitlan del Valle and has a vast knowledge of Oaxacan anthropology and ethnobotany within its mountains and valleys.
Elvia is a master beekeeper, and a professor of eco-forestry at a local university, (CECFOR 2).
As beekeepers, Jose and Elvia take an artisanal approach to their craft. Honey yields in the arid Central Valleys of Oaxaca are much lower than tropical climates, but the flavors and crystallization that they harvest from their beehives is unique to each place, a single village honey.
Aside from that, their tools and kit are simple; masks, gloves, long sleeved shirts, and pants, to go along with a smoker and a hive tool that pries open frames and scrapes away beeswax.
In the Central Valleys, there is generally only one honey harvest per year, around October and November.
If a family or a farmer has a bee issue, just like they helped with Ron, Elvia and Jose will go to someone’s house or field and safely collect the bees for removal and transport them to a safer location.
One of Elvia’s main adages is to try not and hurt a single bee when inspecting the hives or extracting honey.
It makes for a symbiotic approach toward their craft.
In addition to supporting the local ecology, a percentage of the harvested honey in Teotitlan del Valle goes towards Del Maguey’s Visitor program.
As a result, groups from around the world who participate in our program, run by Misty Kalkofen, along with Del Maguey’s US ambassador team and EU manager Romain Llobet, they receive a small sample as a living reminder of our commitment to sustainability. Plus it tastes great!
Apiculture Program Development in Single Villages
We are grateful to announce that two families, in the villages of Santo Domingo Albarradas and Santa Catarina Minas have also decided to participate in this meaningful project with Elvia and Jose.
We are excited to bring the beehives, kits, and bees to these villages. At first, the honey harvest is only expected to be for the families use as a refined sugar substitute but over time as beehives are added, visiting friends will have an opportunity to support the villages and cocktail enthusiasts will have a chance to use the distinct flavors of Oaxacan honey in their drink recipes.
Angel Chincoya Santiago is like other kids his age; he loves football, video games, learning at school and his group of friends. He generally has a bright smile pasted on his face. The only time his smile disappears is when the frustration of his handicap makes certain situations a little overbearing.
Angel was born in the Zapotec village of San Balthazar Chichicapam, Oaxaca, Mexico with a hearing impediment that was not diagnosed until his parents realized that he was not developing any distinguishable language skills.
Over the next 8 years, his mother Elizabeth tried tirelessly to find him the best care, but the news always came back bleak: Your boy has a hearing defect. For years there was no technology available in Mexico that could help him lead what most parents and doctors consider a normal upbringing.
Despite the constant setbacks, Angel refused to consider himself different. He dedicated himself to rehabilitation therapy and won over teachers and bullies with perseverance and smiles.
While he has been enrolled in a speciality school for the hearing impaired, he treasures the challenge of going to school with peers that do not share the same impediment. For the last three years, this he has attended public school.
In the last six months, his family learned of a new hearing aid that had finally been made available in Mexico. It is the Phonak SKY V-70 UP and has the capacity to help Angel understand everyday conversation and substantially improve his speech skills.
Unfortunately, a piece of technology this effective is much too expensive for his family to afford. Elizabeth approached a dozen NGO’s in Oaxaca and Mexico City. She learned that the cost of this apparatus was well beyond the budget of all the NGO’s she asked for help.
Running out of options, and worried that Angel’s development would be negatively affected as he moves from the second to third level of his primary education, she reached out to her cousin Isabel. Isabel’s husband Maximino produces Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal’s Chichicapa, along with his father Faustino Garcia Vasquez, who has been producing this enchanting elixir with Del Maguey’s founder, Ron Cooper, for the last 22 years.
The team at Del Maguey felt like Angel’s story was worthy of a crowdfunding campaign.
Del Maguey’s values are driven by creating opportunities for it’s partner producers and family members that might not have been possible in years past.
We want to help Angel overcome his handicap and we are sending this appeal to the greater Del Maguey family and community in the world in the hope that you feel the same way as well.
The money raised with this campaign will go directly to the purchase of two hearing aids (one for each ear) for Angel, and the the cost of fitting them correctly with his specialist.
The campaign will last 45 days and we would be eternally grateful to be able to share the results of this campaign with updates about the profound change this will make in 9 year old Angel’s life.
If we reach our goal with your support, any additional funds raised will go to CORAL, a Oaxacan Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation Center.
Thank you so much for the consideration. To the Del Maguey family spread across the globe, this is one Stigibeu that we will never forget!