In Morocco, many centuries ago, the indigenous people known as the Berbers were known for their generosity, craftsmanship and innovative crafts from natural resources. Indeed, Morocco today is much like that of Morocco past, with many artisans, producing anything from sandals to furniture. In recent years, one of Morocco’s greatest natural inventions has come to the surface of the Western World.
It is none other than the liquid gold commonly known as Argan oil, used for both cosmetic and culinary delight. Cosmetic Argan oil, which is a by-product of cold pressing the kernels of the Argan tree, is precious and indeed time consuming to produce. There are entire fields, which exist in the South West regions of Morocco, the only place in the world where the Argan trees reside due to its unique tropical climate.
It may just be another tree for others, but for some Berber women who live in the far-away villages it is truly the “tree of life.” The nature of the pulpy shell in Argan fruit is such that it requires skill and craftsmanship to extract properly. This is where the stars of the show, Muslim Berber women, come in.
Armed with a pebble and a passion to put bread on the table, the Argan fruit is cracked open by smashing pebble with fruit to reveal a beautiful hazelnut coloured inner shell, known as the Argan nut. The show isn’t quite over just yet, as there is still one more step. Sitting inside the beautiful Argan nut is a tiny bit of Argan oil (when cold pressed) - known as the Argan kernel. It looks like an almond, and you need about 30 kg of these kernels & 15 hours of labour to make just 1 litre.
At Maison D’argan, we produce organic pure Argan oil at the source in cooperation with Moroccan Berber women. It is very empowering to see the pride and hard work ethic that Moroccan Berber women uphold today in producing this precious oil, so they can ultimately earn for their family.
In a small village with few jobs, it is the economy of natural resources and centuries of manufacturing history, which enable these women to throw themselves into this craft. We can’t help but admire their community spirit and notice their happiness with the small things in life. The greatest reward for us is seeing the smile on their face when we give sadaqat (charity) directly back into the hands which make our precious Argan oil.