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!