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Central Coast Living: The Luffa Farm in Nipomo shows off, you guessed it, homegrown loofahs

Posted: 7:54 AM, Feb 27, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-27 10:56:08-05

Central Coast living means countless tours and unique places to visit. If you have an itch for quirky farm tour, scratch it by taking a quick drive out to Nipomo.

Next to Willow Road, a big sign will greet you to take the winding road back to The Luffa Farm, a small location with plenty of visual oddities dotting the property where it grows loofahs from nature.

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"We grow anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 luffas," supervisor Brooklynn Gamble said. Gamble is family friends with the owner and remembers growing up on the farm. She says there is no place more peaceful.

"People really have no idea what luffas are or where they come from. They show up assuming it's a mesh puff ball. Or if they are familiar with luffas, they are only familiar with the ones you find in the store. And what you find here is completely different."

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Luffas are gourd that, given the right picking, can be eaten, but these tropically-grown sponges found on the farm used for cleaning.

The farm dates back more than 20 years when Deanne Coon started growing and selling heirloom luffas.

Yes, exactly like the ones you're thinking of.

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"The other question we get a lot is 'Don't those come from the ocean?' And the answer is they absolutely do not."

Thousands of people visit from around the world, learning more about the naturally grown sponge and how their culture does it.

"Whats really fun is we are getting more and more is people who are from countries that grow luffas natively," Gamble said. "So those people have their own cultural familiarity with luffas. They get to come here and see a little snapshot of that and actually educate us."

The Luffa Farm goes beyond just the sponge, with soaps, lotions, oils and creams. And the team is happy to keep this operation modest.

"As a small family business, we've had the opportunity in the past to grow larger, we have chosen not to. Because we really enjoy having complete control over what's going on on the farm. We plan to stay open for the public and keep educating those who want to learn about luffas."

So take a quick trip out to Nipomo for an experience you can't find anywhere else in the U.S.

The farm is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

You can see items for sale by visiting the farm's website here.