If, during your stay you find yourself wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh  for a few hours, by travelling just a few miles from the city outskirts you can not only take a pause to gather your senses but you can also get hands on with a unique aspect of Moroccan agriculture.

These are the Argan tree’s that soon transform the rocky desert that surrounds Marrakesh into an astonishing sea of green after only a half an hour’s drive out of the city. Argan trees have only ever grown in Morocco and are they have become a hugely important resource as the nuts harvested from the trees are composed of a natural variety of beneficial properties which has led to widespread culinary and cosmetic usage

As we venture outside of Marrakech to discover what it is that makes Argon nuts and the oil that comes from it so important, we come across one of the many Argon production co-operatives. Greeted straight from our car, we are ushered into the co-operative in a relaxed and inviting manner that contrasts the intense sales techniques of the Marrakesh souk’s.

Once inside the ladies currently working take a moment’s pause to sing us a traditional Moroccan welcome before our guide starts to explain the step by step process in which the Argan nut is collected and harvested into oil. But this is Morocco and an interesting explanation soon turns hands on as we are guided into the work shop to help the ladies at their work at each stage of production.

The real significance of this process soon becomes apparent as  we learn that these production co-operatives provide employment for women in the area which support entire families. Organisations such as this which promote employment are thriving outside and in Marrakech where the charity, Henna Café provide’s quality henna tattoo’s from resident artist Fatimah whilst also offering educational classes in a number of subjects free of charge.

Take note however! We aren’t the only creatures to enjoy the delicious tastes of the Argan tree. As you drive out through the desert you may just come across the local goat’s who seem to have acquired a greater taste for the Argan oil than we have!

Onion Market Marrakech

As Marrakshi women will tell you, food and its preparation is more than just about eating. It is a lifestyle that brings together families, friends, and any visitors to this wonderful city that are open to new experiences.

Taking a freshly bought red onion in her hand and a knife in the other, away from any counter top, Fatima, the chef and henna artist of the Henna Café in Marrakech, begins frantically but precisely to chop lines in the onion one direction then the vertical other, barely missing her fingers and palm. Horizontally slicing the onion sprinkles perfectly regimental shaped pieces into a bowl which this time was mixed with tomato, olive oil, cumin and salt, making a very common and deliciously simple local Marrakshi salad.


Cutting an onion Marrakshi-style 

A technique to be admired at by all and a symbol of an ingrained hospitable lifestyle, for this any for so many other reasons, the women of Marrakech are truly valued and prized possessions of this beautiful culture and further assist in making the city and its traditions the special experience that it is. Getting to know the hospitable riad staff of Marrakech-riad is truly insightful and offers a unique education into Marrakshi life and all it’s passions.