As Jan Lipton was travelling from Essaouira to Marrakech, he came upon a Christmas vision, but with no snow in sight. The white, instead, was 12 furry goats casually perched on a 30-foot tall tree right in the middle of a dessert-like piece of land.
Lipton witnessed the spectacle in the Moroccan countryside, and he couldn’t believe his eyes. “At first when I saw this, I found it truly surreal – it looks like a decorated Christmas tree.”
How did they get there? Their naturally engineered physical anatomy; the goats use their cloven feet to climb up and down the trees. Ever tree holds around 12-15 goats, and it’s not just for show, as the local farmers benefit from the tree-climbers.
“The goats are part of a historically developed and elaborated eco and production system. They harvest the seeds of the Moroccan Argan tree by eating the fruit and spitting or defecating out the hard kernel.”
The kernels are then collected for the seeds inside of them. The oil is extracted from the seeds using small manually operated mills. The goats help the farmers bring down the kernels, which would otherwise require a lot of manual work.
The oil from the seeds of the Moroccan Argan tree is tremendously beneficial. The oil can be used as a cooking ingredient, a cosmetic solution for aging, and as medicine.
“They move with great elegance and speed,” adds Lipton in awe, and we completely agree; white ornaments on a tree never looked more dreamlike.
All images are courtesy of Jan Lipton