Argan Oil and Tree Climbing Goats

Argan oil is mainly produced in Morocco and can be found in many products from food to hair care. The strange part is not where it is produced, but that it historically involves tree-climbing goats.

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The traditional process for farming Argan was created by the Berbers of ancient Morocco. The extraction of oil begins, of course, with goats climbing the trees. Argan fruit is eaten by the goats, but the pits are not digested. Instead, the pits are “evacuated” as waste and collected.

Photo by Jeroen Pots
Photo by Jeroen Pots

After collecting the pits, they are roasted. Using a grinding stone, the pits are pressed and oil is released and collected. It is an incredibly labor intensive process undertaken by the Berber women, but once complete the oil has many uses. Most commonly, in Morocco, it is used for couscous, dipping bread, and Amlou (a paste of Argan oil, almonds, and honey). Today, popularity of Argan oil in US cosmetics has grown to such an extent (an increase of over %5000 from 2007-2011) that the Moroccan government is setting plans to increase production by 2020 to 10,000 tons per year!

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