The Tree Goats of Morocco

Corinna Sargood, writing in The Art of Eating (article not available online unfortunately), has assembled a brief but enchanting look at the tree-climbing, fruit-grazing goats of Morocco and their interdependent relationship with their herders. The goats climb argan trees, eat the fruits, and spit out the nuts; the peeled nuts are then pulverized and turned into argan oil. To make a liter of the precious stuff requires 30 kilograms (roughly 66 pounds) of fruit and about 15 hours of labor.

The story paints delightful little word-pictures like this: “The shepherd watches punctiliously and, when he thinks the tree has been nibbled enough, whistles to his animals who obediently leap from the branches.”

And it features hand-drawn sepia-colored illustrations by the author, including a detail of a goat in a tree that is pretty much the cutest thing to appear in a food magazine all year.