Tucked away on a neighborhood street in Monroe lives the small farm and store of Lilliputopia. You may see their sign and flag on the corner across from Monroe’s library inviting you to visit Friday through Sunday. Today I met with Eliza Mason, owner with her husband Thorin Nielson of Lilliputopia to ask some questions. Here is a retelling of the information she shared.
Questions & Answers 1. How long have you been in business? We bought the 4 acre farm in 2017 and opened the store in 2020. The farm's trial run lasted one year and we donated all of the produce to the food pantry in Monroe. We started Monroe farmers market in 2019. Once Covid hit we put all our energy into the store. The store was originally a chicken coop. We worked hard to restore it.
2. How did you choose this area? We looked at many different farms near Portland but fell in love with the Monroe property when it became available. We jumped on it and the rest is history.
3. What are your favorite things about this area? We both really enjoy the beauty of our area. When we have time we get to enjoy the nature of Alsea Falls and Finley Wildlife Refuge. We also like being a part of the rural communities nearby.
4. What is your background and how did you get into what you do? I moved to Monroe from North Carolina after obtaining my BS in Molecular Biology and PhD in Bacterial Genetics. I also volunteered through the WWOOF program to learn about farming in several different climates.
5. How would you describe your business? We are a tiny farm that only sells organic produce and handmade gifts from local vendors and growers. We focus on sustainability through growing and selling wonderful organic food while promoting community and fostering beneficial relationships.
6. What makes your business unique? Our farm practices dry farming using little to no irrigation. Summer crops often have less fungal issues as well as more flavor and nutrition.
7. What do you hope for your business in the next 5 years? The maturation of trees will allow for more fruit than they have had previously. Also, new business strategies like You-Pick, events, classes or demonstrations.
8. Are there any local causes you support? Monroe food pantry Dry Farming Institute board member Benton Soil and Water Conservation District Economic Development, City of Monroe