Learning and Loving Luffa
Luffa are grown on rows of wire trellises and look like cucumbers, or long gourds. Several hundred plants produce several thousand luffas every season at the Luffa Ranch. The mature fruit is peeled, cleaned, and dried. The natural fiber core is the final product which you may recognize as a loofa.
The loofa that are imported, the ones you can buy in the drugstore, are scratchy and hard. After a few uses, you toss them out. These loofas have been chemically treated for fungus and insects as required for importing. The chemicals destroy the naturally soft fibers. The Luffa Ranch uses no chemicals. The luffa are completely natural, biodegradable, and are soft and gentle enough to use on the face.
Luffa can be cleaned in the dishwasher but must be removed before the dry cycle to air dry. They can also be washed in the washing machine then air dried. They remain soft and can be used over and over.
They can be used for scrubbing in place of abrasives like steel wool, chopped and put into the bottom of potted plants, and used in making soap. A chunk of it can serve as a soap dish.
Best of all, your back and feet will love the luffa.
This was a new plant for me. For some reason I thought those hard loofas came from the ocean. I never guessed a vine, thought fruit, or imagined a ranch. One thing I haven’t been able to learn, and which for a writer is of utmost importance, is how to make luffa plural. Is it luffas or luffi or just plain luffa?
The other bit of agricultural education was learning about pig rescue. Serenpiggity Sanctuary, Franklin, NC, visited our table at the festival. There are actually several pig rescues in North Carolina, and in many other states, I was surprised to learn. Some of them accept all farm animals. This woman with the piggy tee shirt really loves her piggies. Now who knew there were so many homeless pigs in need of refuge? This has certainly been an educational weekend for me.