NiLu' Harlems Gift Store Owner Katrina Parris Flowers interviews Lomar Farms.
Seven years ago Yvonna Kopacz - Wright packed up her family and said good-bye to urban living. Yvonna, her husband, Brett, and two daughters, Lola and Marley moved 19 miles north of New York City to the Hamlet of Palisades. The family settled on a six-acre farm that they affectionately named LoMar Farms.
The space reminded Yvonna of growing up in rural California--a space filled with agriculture and land. Wanting the same access to nature and space for her daughters was what originally drew her to move from Harlem to the Palisades. And soon, Yvonna learned she could be doing more to help the environment, cultivate a community space and develop a family business--all stemming from a love of bees.
NILU currently carries several products made on Lomar Farms including candles, soap and honey. We recently chatted with Yvonna to talk about her beloved Lomar Farms, running a business as a family affair and the power of beekeeping.
You described your products as a “beautiful, bright light.” Why?
Whenever I feel stressed, I light a candle. It brings my mood into place. I can destress and focus when I use my own products. I wouldn’t sell what I wouldn’t use. Our candles are currently our best selling products and are great for meditation. Our soaps are organic and people love them as well. Our honey--delicious.
Speaking of honey, what made you interested in the process of beekeeping and making products from bees?
Bees give us so many gifts. We take care of them and provide love and respect.
When we moved here, we knew we wanted to rehab the area. We knew that bees would help with pollination. We watched a documentary, More Than Honey, and wanted to make a positive contribution to the bee population.
I admit that in the beginning, I was terrified. I was hoping my husband would say no. But he did not. The girls opposed the idea but I really felt like “this is it.” So we started with baby steps. We just learned. I believe it is fate. Looking back seven years ago, I can see the process and understand why we did it.
It takes a lot of time to keep bees but we are helping the community by taking care of them.
How involved are your daughters in your business?
This is a family affair. I make all the products. My husband is a serial entrepreneur and is in charge of marketing and the business end of Lomar Farms.If it wasn’t for him, I’d hang a sign outside and sell directly from the barn! I have my hand in that as well because I needed to know the business from the inside out. My daughters help with shipping. Lola handles all the labelling and Marley does packing and shipping.
How has your business grown in the last year?
This year, we have experienced a lot of growth--about 600 percent. We are doing it all ourselves. As a result of COVID we are all home but we’ve still been able to produce.
We really wanted to be known as a lifestyle brand and share who we are as a family. We have a chic farm style and want to reflect that in all that we do. So, we’ve incorporated everything from cutting boards to travel bags into our product line-- we are a farm to table family and we wanted that reflected in our brand.
What is the future for Lomar Farms?
This is such an exciting time.We recently built a rock garden where we currently offer yoga classes. We are just starting to enliven the property with the dreams that we really want. We want to be a community space and expand into a large space that can be used for organic farming and yoga. We have community volunteers that work as pollinators for the bees. And more than anything, we want this space to be not us teaching but us learning, and back and forth with people who come on property.