The Loofah Patch
loofah / loofa / lufa / luffa - Luffa is the botanical name
Natural loofah are a type of gourd grown on a vine and are a member of the cucurbit family where they are grown for eating in many different countries. Many people think loofahs come from the ocean like sea sponges but they are grown on land and are 100% sustainable.
The large marrow looking fruit is very heavy so we use a solid structure to hold them up and make sure they grow nice and straight for our customers. The vines take up a lot of space and at peak growing time you can see the daily growth in the vine, this also means a lot of tying to ensure the tendrils can latch onto the structure. At the end of the season the plant starts to take all the nutrients and moisture back out of the heavy loofah and they start to dry off. When they become light and the skins begin to brown we harvest them. Harvesting can take up to two to three months depending on the autumn season.
We crack the skins open to reveal the network of fibres left behind - this is my favourite part, it's like opening a gift from nature to see the loofah inside. They then go through a lengthy cleaning process using only clean water to remove any fruit pulp and seeds. Once cleaned they are hung to dry in the sun, lucky for us Nelson has good sunshine hours.
We use a variety of seed that is one of the softest loofah available and we carefully harvest our loofah when they're at their most optimum for fibre strength, softness and that beautiful pure white/creme colour that our loofahs are known for.