October 27, 2005
Although low added value, for the culinary interest: Argan Oil & Moroccan Goat Shit
I am afraid I have been rather wrapped up in balance sheets and similar things, and while this might have once generated commentary, my new found increased paranoia inhibits.
However, I was bemused and indeed surprised to see a well loved Moroccan product featured in The New York Times online, in an article entitled Tiout Journal: Hungry Goats Atop a Tree, Doing Their Bit for Epicures
The article is... well inadequate and amateurish I should say, but despite that interesting for highlighting something that I am personally professionally interested in, and secondly as a point of reflexion on 'new' environmental prodcuts.
The tree is a relict of the earth's Tertiary Period, which ended about 1.6 million years ago, and it grows in only a few other places in the world. It is tenacious, withering and fruitless during extended droughts, and it lives as long as 200 years. But it has never been either germinated from seed or transplanted from cuttings on a wide scale. So there was alarm that the Argania spinosa, as the tree is properly called, was headed for extinction, along with its precious goat-related oil.
Enter Unesco, a European prince, a few three-star chefs and an army of grandes dames excited by the oil's reputed anti-aging qualities. By creating a global market for the exotic oil, the unlikely alliance hopes to raise local awareness about the inherent value of the trees, encouraging more careful grazing and stopping the local population from chopping them down for firewood.
The article, despite its "oh those wierd desert tribespeople" or "oh those poor developing world women" spin has some interesting items and does point to the utility of leveraging market interest for "developmental aims."
The problem is that the resources are merely conservational. One is not going to get expansion of the tree without more capital, which requires a somewhat more industrial approach. However, land tenure issues are a barrier.
Posted by The Lounsbury at October 27, 2005 11:43 PM
Filed Under: Biz - Private in MENA
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I'd actually seen this and forwarded it to Ms. Eerie yesterday, with a suggestion for an occasional Aqoul recipe feature column. Any recommendations?
Posted by: Eva Luna at October 28, 2005 03:50 PM
"oh those wierd desert tribespeople"
Given this stuff is protected from the goat's internal workings by a hard shell, it's actually pretty tame. Compare it to Kopi Luwak coffee.
The idea of yuppies spending $175 a pound to make coffee out of civit crap is weird. The idea of desert tribespeople using goats to gather an otherwise difficult to harvest cash crop is pretty smart.
Posted by: Anonymous at October 28, 2005 07:17 PM
Anon: yes, quite right (BTW, I hate to be ... no actually I don't care: my rule of thumb on comments is make up a bloody handle, I hate "Anon").
In any case, much less wierd and icky than the article's silly spin.
Eve: recommendations for recipes? No. Other than, make salade, dump oil on it.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at October 28, 2005 11:51 PM
recommendations for recipes? No. Other than, make salade, dump oil on it.
Well, at least now I know your next career move won't involve becoming a three-star chef (though it is a longtime fantasy of mine - to become one myself, not to have you become one).
In part, this comment is a gratuitous attempt to jar this series of comments back into viewability on my home computer - for some reason, they have disappeared when viewed on my machine, but nowhere else.
Posted by: Eva Luna at October 31, 2005 01:47 AM
M. Lounsbury, you lack imagination. How about
"Extravaganza fresh lobster, bouquet of young shoots, and argan oil dressing"
Posted by: Eva Luna at October 31, 2005 02:10 AM
You would be hard pressed to select a career of less interest to me, to be frank. My imagination trends towards other things, as creating my own boutique equity investment firm focused on innovative emerging markets applications for development finance.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at October 31, 2005 02:05 PM
You would be hard pressed to select a career of less interest to me, to be frank.
True, but even scions of capitalism have to eat, no? And sometimes even with clients! If you're going to do it, you might as well enjoy it.
Posted by: Eva Luna at October 31, 2005 02:54 PM
And thus we have restaurants, maids and sometimes partners who cook.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at October 31, 2005 03:26 PM
True, but don't you at least have input into the decisionmaking process?
Posted by: Eva Luna at October 31, 2005 04:17 PM
Not any more than I have input when a mechanic fixes my car. Works/Doesn't work. Am uninterested in detials that do not concern me directly.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at October 31, 2005 04:42 PM