Argan oil is one of the most valued cosmetic products in the world and it originates from Morocco. Argania spinosa is a tree endemic to the semidesert Sous valley of southwestern Morocco. Argan trees grow up to 10m high and live for about 200 years.
The Berbers, native inhabitants of Morocco, have been extracting Argan oil for thousands of years, but it is the Tashlahate speaking Berbers of the Souss valley who live between Marrakesh and the south of Agadir that are the main extractors. The traditional preparation of Argan Oil by Berber women is still one of the main occupations for these communities.
You can visit one of the women's co-operatives to witness all stages of this traditional production. Harvest time is from June to August, which is the busiest period of time for Argan oil farmers. The fruits are picked by hand and left to dry before being stored in sacks. The kernels are then removed from the nuts and ground. In many places, this process is still done by hand. It takes about one week and 20kg of nuts to produce only 5 litres of oil.
When you visit a cooperative, you can buy authentic, freshly squeezed argan oil. You can even try it in traditional Berber dishes as a dip for bread or to drizzle on couscous.