Argan tree grove, somewhere in Morocco
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Be on the lookout for goats in trees!
When on the road in south or southwestern Morocco, you may notice a tourist bus that has pulled over and discharged a busload of passengers to run dashing through the trees with their cameras. What might be happening? The answer is simple: tree-climbing goats! Let me explain the trees first -- A huge cottage/co-op industry in Morocco is the production of argan oil, derived from the seed kernel of the fruit of the argan tree, endemic to Morocco. The argan tree grows wild in semi-desert soil and is extremely well adapted to drought and other difficult growing conditions of the region. The species Argania once covered much of North Africa but is now endangered and under protection of UNESCO. Argan oil is valued for its nutritional, cosmetic and medicinal properties, and could be considered one of the rarest oils in the world due the very small growing region. OK, now I'll explain the goats. Goats love the fruit of these trees so much that they use their climbing ability to get far up into the trees to eat the fruit. Prior to the adoption of modern processing methods, argan oil was once produced by collecting the undigested kernels passed by the goats (sorry, just had to mention that!). Be sure to shop for some of the wonderfully rich lotions and creams made from argan oil; and look for handcrafted soap as well.
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