Near Tafraoute we visited a local house.
The lady of the house welcomed us and in the yard we could watch a working oil press.
In this area the local people made oil of olives, but also of argan.
The argan tree grows only in the southern part of Morocco. The argan tree is the one the goats like to climb in, because they like eating its leaves.
Looking at the oil press
During our visit we could walk around and have a look inside the building.
The people were very friendly and tried to explain us the working of the machine and the total process.
In the souq of Tafraoute it's possible to buy the locally produced olive and argan oil.
Goats in the Argane trees
I find seeing goats and sheep and their shepherds or shepherdesses around the area quite photogenic and cultural especially as the Berber women are usually in colourful clothing and the men looking interesting.
Thousands of Argane trees grow in an enormous area covering the Anti-Atlas through to Tata and Taroudant up to Essaaouira and down to Tiznit and Goulmime - and this has interestingly all been declared World Heritage by Unesco!
Of course the ARgane is a very important source of income for people in the area. During the harvest season in September you will see many local men and women out under the trees collecting and bagging the argane nuts to take home for the arduous task of taking the hard shells off the almond-like nut inside to grind them into the expensive omega rich cooking oils and skin care products for sale on the local and international market.
If there have been good rains the trees will start to flourish after harvest and new leaves start to grow - no flowers are seen on the argane trees unlike the many almond trees in the Anti-Atlas that are famed for their beautiful flower around late January to late February.
New argane fruit start to grow from about November with the kernel growing inside a fleshy casing.
The goats love the new leaves and also like to eat the fleshy casing of the argane nut - when the nut is still soft inside it is very bitter which the goats dont like but when the nuts have hardened inside their casing the goats like to eat the outer casing and the nut will either fall to the ground or be swallowed and passed out whole through the goats digestive system - then the women gather those nuts for processing.
So if you keep an eye out you often will get the chance to see the goats up in the trees - often amazingly balancing on even the smallest branches.
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip