Travelling west towards the Atlantic Ocean from Marrakech; destination Essaouira (known as Mogador in the Berber culture and language) A fishing city, where the Medina is enclosed with the fortress of the city walls. Summer time arrives bringing locals and tourists to enjoy the sand, sea and sun. A lively city that provides the cultural diversity of the people of Morocco expressed through heritage, festival, food and shopping. Is there more that this city can offer?
As I embark on my exploration, I witness the sighting of the Argan forest in the Sous valley of Southwestern Morocco. The endemic tree (Argania spinosa L.) can survive in semi desert conditions and live up to 200 years.
From seed to bearing fruit, it takes up to 50 years to grow. To preserve this tree, the forest is guarded with UNESCO stamp, reflecting it importance to exist now and forever more. During spring, the flowers are in blossom and leads to the fruits reaching maturity in the summer months of June and July. A fruit of changing colour from green to yellow and finally darkened to brownish black until its ready for collection by the local cooperative in the region. Dissection of the dry berry fruit reveals a hard nut which is the kernel formed by the fusion of the seeds. Split and break the tough nut with a stone encompasses the presence of two-three seeds depending on its maturity.
Take the seeds and grind, reveals the golden molten liquid that has made its way to international cosmetic stands in the world. Virgin argan oil is prepared from unroasted kernels and is golden in colour. The oil is renowned for its high tocopherol content (69%), which contributes to Vitamin E activity. These molecules have strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. Its richness in high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, contributes to its many therapeutic properties as a skin and hair product. Argan oil is mainly produced in the Ounagha Province of Essaouria, Morocco. Women cooperatives such as the community of Assaisseet et Tamounte are actively involved in the manufacturing of the oil.
Discovering culture and traditions with Love Morocco Tours and supporting the working of women’s cooperatives producing an oil that moisturises and looks after your hair and skin.