The Luffa Farm
Most people are shocked when they discover that luffas — a type of sponge that are most commonly used to exfoliate the skin while bathing — do not come from the ocean like sea sponges. Luffas are actually gourds like pumpkins, squash and melons. Like all gourds, luffas grow on flowering vines inside hard-shelled pods. Similar to the form of cucumbers, the long gourds that grow on sprawling vines can be harvested and dried. When luffas are in an early stage of development, you can actually harvest and eat the fruit inside! But as the fruit ages and becomes fully developed, it becomes drier. Once the luffas are in optimal condition, they can be peeled to reveal the soft spongy interior that we know and love.
Santa Maria Valley is home to our very own Luffa Farm, in fact, it is called The Luffa Farm and it’s located in the town of Nipomo, less than 20 minutes from Santa Maria. The five-acre Luffa Farm proprietor, Deanne Coon, grows luffas year-round using her own heirloom seeds. Native to the Old World tropics, The Luffa Farm is one of the few luffa farms left in the United States. Visitors can purchase their own natural luffas here as well as other goodies to take home a spa-like experience. Visitors can buy soaps, bath salts, lotions, foot soaks, oil blends and more. The farm is open to the public and offers free tours Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For more information, visit www.theluffafarm.com.