IF YOU HAVE A SHOWER RITUAL, it probably includes some or all of the following: shampoo, conditioner, soap, a shower cap, a washcloth, and some sort of brush or loofah, the tool that'll give your skin a thorough scrubbing and some deep exfoliation. And even though cleansing is a regular part of our lives, and we depend upon suds and scrubbers each day, getting to go to the places where such products are made, or, wait for it, grown, is pretty difficult to do. (As difficult as switching conditioner after years of using the stuff that keeps your locks extra shiny.) There is a place on the Central Coast, though, that offers free tours built around one of the staples of the shower and/or tub. It's The Luffa Farm, found along the Highway 1 Discovery Route, and it is a spongeful spot in Nipomo, not too far from Pismo Beach.
IF THE MENTION... of Pismo Beach brings Monarch butterflies to mind, and clams, best add the scrubby sponge that's actually a gourd in the cucumber family to your Central Coast cool-stuff list. (Surprising, yes, but not surprising, in a way, since cucumber scents play a large role in bathtime rituals.) The Nipomo spread offers free 30-minute tours, giving luffa lovers and those just getting to know the gourdly good some insight into what goes into raising the "all-natural Heirloom Luffa Sponges." There's a gift shop, too (think fine glycerin soaps and such), so you just might depart with some luffa-lovely items. The farm, which is billed as "... one of the only growers of luffa sponges in the USA," is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, do note. And while your shower scrubber might be spelled differently on its package, the loofah (the skin tool) and the luffa (the plant) are the same thing at different points/places in their timeline. Eager to know more? Go Nipomo for all of your luffa learning.