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"I couldn't tell you the dream in words, he said. "Part of it might be continuing my grandfather's dream of taking care of the land and using it to help others.

Murillo said he is not at liberty to identify the producers. He is, however, happy to report that they have been suitably impressed by yields on his ranch.

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The name refers to the alchemy of turning sunlight, plant material and nutrients from the ranch's ever improving soil into "liquid gold," touching on Murillo's personal and professional interests in science.

"So much land in Mexico has gone sterile," he said. "The goal is to make it more productive, so people can make a decent living, without relying on chemical fertilizers that can get into the water table."

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The industry average for a pia, an agave trimmed of its leaves to reveal the juice laden core within, is about 80 pounds, Murillo said. In contrast, his pias average about 200 pounds each.

Later this year, during a visit to the ranch with wife Lupe Murillo and their daughters, ages 16 and 20, Murillo plans to bottle a reposado, a grade that the Tequila Regulatory Council describes as being aged two months to one year.

Three months later, it won a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Taking silver in its respective category was Tequila Alquimia Blanco, bottled immediately after harvest and distillation.

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"My grandfather was the original organic farmer, before it was in vogue," Murillo said with a laugh. "His philosophy was, if you treat the soil right, it will produce for you."

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"We're on the fringes of Jalisco, and the top soil there is poor compared to other areas," Murillo said. "It has been depleted over the years by chemical intensive farming. I realized I needed to increase the organic matter in the soil."

But it also references his favorite book, "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho, in which the title character follows a seemingly impossible dream.

do it for free, with the understanding that, when they see the results, they share the information with others," said Murillo, who has visited avocado growers in Michoacan, chile farmers in Zacatecas and strawberry fields in Guanajuato.

Murillo, Guzman and a team of workmen aided by mules and a Ferrari tractor from Italy planted the first crop of agave more than 20,000, 2 year old offshoots from mature mother plants in 1993.

As word of such results spreads beyond the realm of tequila producers, Murillo increasingly is asked to speak about his methods with growers of other crops.

Murillo found out why when, during one of his return trips to Mexico, he brought along a chemistry set and tested the soil both at the ranch and at areas where plantings of agave had proved successful.

Another, more personal goal: to one day buy back the neighboring property where his grandfather grew corn, raised cattle and "had every kind of fruit tree imaginable," Murillo said.

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But by 2004, the harvest already was going so well that Murillo decided to discontinue the practice of selling his agave to other tequila makers. Instead, he would make his own, with an assist from a local, small production factory that agreed to follow what he calls his "organic protocols" for fermenting and distilling.

"Ultimately, it may have nothing to do with tequila," he added. "Our daughters may one day do something completely different to keep the dream going for another generation."

Then they waited. And waited. It can take seven to 10 years Nike Tracksuit Navy

Those odds get even better when you consider that the tequila in question is made from blue agave planted on Murillo's family ranch near the village of Agua Negra in Jalisco, Mexico; that despite being available in California stores and restaurants for less than a year it already has nabbed several industry awards; and that, after a long day of checking people's eyes for glaucoma and problems related to diabetes, Murillo may hop in the car and drive to a restaurant in Agoura Hills or a liquor store in Ventura to tout his liquid wares. Hence, the trunk full of boxes of factory sealed tequila, gold gift bags and logo etched cordial glasses.

The awards have attracted the attention of other, larger tequila producers, some of whom have visited the ranch to see what all of the organic fuss is about.

A new and organic approach to making traditional spirit dawns on family ranch

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Murillo's scrapbook of photos of previous harvests and of visits to the ranch by groups of friends from Ventura County includes a shot of him posing with a 304 pound pia. "That's still our all time record holder," he said.

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Murillo has a dream, too, although it is still forming in his mind, still rising to the occasion.

Back in Oxnard, Murillo immersed himself in the study of agriculture, and in particular in "green" growing practices. Then he combined what he'd learned with the recollections of foreman Luis Guzman, who had grown up on his late Nike Sportswear Jacket

grandfather's ranch on the neighboring property.

"I like to personally meet with new accounts and get them started," said Murillo, 51, who graduated from Nordhoff High School in Ojai, earned his bachelor's degree in biological sciences at UC Santa Barbara and received his doctor of optometry degree at UC Berkeley.

Aged for nearly three years in white oak barrels ("the same kind used for Jack Daniel's," Murillo said with another laugh), his amber colored Tequila Alquimia Aejo was bottled in November.

for agave to reach harvest worthy maturity, Murillo noted.

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This summer, the 2008 International Review of Spirits organized by the Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago awarded 93 points out of 100 (and a gold medal) to Tequila Alquimia Blanco.

Inspired Nike Waterproof Jacket by Jalisco's storied history as Mexico's officially sanctioned tequila producing region, he asked several Agua Negra townspeople if they thought that blue agave pronounced ah GAH vay, it is the dagger leafed plant from which tequila is derived would grow there. Their response was not encouraging.

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