Recently, the luffa – a sponge that’s most commonly used on the skin while bathing – had its 15 minutes of fame after this Buzz Feed article went viral on social media. Many people were shocked to discover the luffa isn’t an object found in the ocean, rather, it’s a tropical gourd that grows on a vine! The origin of the luffa was no surprise to us, though. That’s because Santa Maria Valley is home to our very own Luffa Farm, in Nipomo. At The Luffa Farm, proprietor Deanne Coon grows luffas year-round on her five-acre family farm using her own heirloom seeds. The long gourds that grow on sprawling vines are a form of cucumbers. When harvested and dried, they can be peeled to reveal that familiar soft spongy interior. The Luffa Farm is one of the few growers of luffa sponges in the United States. They are open to the public and offer free tours, Wednesday through Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Luffas along with soaps, lotions, and other gifts are available for purchase online and in their gift shop. For more information, visit their website, here.