Harvest of Argan Fruit

Our argan oil production is based on a traditional and manual system. Fruit harvesting is done around July or August when temperatures can reach close to 50° C in the shade. The majority of argan tree plantations are found outside any road access. Consequently, our coop members may travel for hours, by foot or by donkey, to reach the picking areas. 

It is hard work considering the distance, heat and thorny trees. It’s especially difficult in the southern regions, beyond Tiznit and towards Guelmim, where the trees are scattered with only 40 per hectare. Depending on the year, the fruits from five to seven trees are necessary in order to produce a single liter of argan oil.

Argan nuts are exclusively picked from the branches. Doing so avoids harvesting the ones that have been ingested and eliminated by goats. This would have caused the nut to rapidly oxidise, therefore diminishing its quality. 

 

Drying of fresh Argan Fruit

Argan nuts are then sun-dried which will facilitate the removal of the pulp. When harvesting areas are located far from argan cooperatives, women build enclosures with thorny branches to protect the produce from animals. 

Peeling the pulp off the dried Argan Fruit

The women then peel the fruits by hand.

Removing the pulp is sometimes done mechanically through the use of a pulping machine specifically created for this purpose by local craftspeople. A woman constantly monitors the machine which separates the pulp from the nut. The pulp obtained is used as food for the family’s own animals or sold to farmers.

Crushing the Argan Nuts

The crushing step then follows; using stones, women remove the nut surrounding the kernels. Each nut contains 2 to 3 kernels. Crushing and cleaning are still carried out by hand as attempts to mechanize this process have been unsuccessful. This time-consuming process is delicate since the kernels are not to be damaged. In order to obtain 2.5 kg of kernels, women must transform on average 35 kg of nuts. This quantity is required to get a single liter of oil.

Peeling and crushing are the perfect way for women to socialize among members of local cooperatives. For them, it is a time to relax and communicate during which they can fully contemplate the meaning and usefulness of their work. All generations take part, from children to seniors, often while singing.    

Argan Oil Extraction

After the crushing process, the oil is transformed into its culinary or cosmetic form.

Culinary Argan Oil

In the case of culinary oil, the kernels are roasted over a low fire fuelled by fruit shells using an earthenware plate. The fire must produce low-heat and this process cannot exceed 10 minutes in order to preserve the nutty taste. This is how the culinary oil will be obtained. 

The kernels are then pressed, most of the time using a traditional stone hand mill. This process transforms the kernels into a paste. Women then blend the creamy paste by mixing it with lukewarm water. This will form a solid ball which they will manually press in order to extract the argan oil. The solid residue called argan oil cake is highly popular among farm animals.

Cosmetic Argan Oil

When kernels are pressed raw, the cosmetic oil is obtained.

Most our cooperatives are equipped with a mechanical press. It’s use increases productivity but an electricity supply is necessary. In this case, the work is done by a technician who controls and monitors the machine. 

 

Our Coop's Syndicate takes over

By this stage, 10 to 12 hours have been necessary to produce a single liter of argan oil. It is at this ultimate step that the syndicate intervenes to insure optimal hygiene for storage and transportation of the crude argan oil. Most of the roughly 200 Moroccan Argan Oil cooperatives just do not dispose of these facilities. 

The syndicate retrieves the production from the 23 member cooperatives which will undergo various steps:

Decantation (15 days),

filtration (several times at different temperatures),

laboratory analysis,

certification and packaging.

 

Arganlounge, a responsible  business :

In order to ensure the delivery of a high-quality product to our clientele, 1212 Arganlounge Inc. commits to:

Keeping procedures consistent and traceability of the argan oil intact.

Guarantying an argan oil that is 100 % pure, organic, certified and analysed.

Ensuring shipment directly from Morocco to our laboratories to be transformed according to the attributed formulas.

Pricing based on the regulations dictated by fair trade. This guaranties decent wages down the production chain, which allows for the emancipation of cooperative members from the syndicate whom we are committed to.

Ensuring the quality of products delivered to our clientele by eliminating unnecessary intermediates from the value chain, and by guarantying an optimal traceability and reducing the risk of adulterated oils or low-quality kernels.

The origin of the product, as well as picking, storage, transformation and transportation are indeed, fully controlled.

 

 

When purchasing an Arganlounge product, you are supporting the rural economy and helping to maintain microbusinesses in the villages of the argan forest.

You thereby contribute to the human, economic, social, cultural and ecological development of this region and to the improvement of living conditions for members of these cooperatives and their families. These improvements include such amenities as:  a drinking water supply, electricity, a road system, medical services and education.