Last week I visited Tara Kolla at her home, also known as Silver Lake Farms in Los Angeles. Her backyard is a half acre or so of paradise where she grows flowers, citrus and herbs for herself, for market and for a wonderful artisanal ice cream company called Carmela. More on Silver Lake Farms and Carmela in a future post.
Today I want to tell you about one of Tara's crops and what she suggests we do with it: loofah.
First of all, let's debunk the big loofah myth: it does not come from the sea. Loofah is a squash plant. It grows as a vine and best grown trellised. The squash is picked, dried and skinned. What remains is what you see above and in bathtubs across the world.
Tara has another idea for loofah, and that is to use it to wash dishes. We got one and have been using it all week. It works beautifully on plates and pans. It also is perfect for weaseling down a wine glass.
If you happen to be in Los Angeles, stop by Tara's stand at the Saturday Silver Lake Farmers' Market to buy one of her organic, untreated backyard loofahs. Or, pick one up wherever fine loofahs are sold and try it out in your kitchen sink.