Westchester County's Most Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs
Meet 28 of the county's most successful, move innovative, most respected business women.
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Over the Rainbeau
Co-founder, Owner, and Farmer, Rainbeau Ridge
“Nothing in my past or in my previous career prepared me for this,” declares 56-year-old farmer and cheese maker Lisa Schwartz. “There’s absolutely no connection.” The Poughkeepsie native and mother of two worked as a management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, raised her two children, and did philanthropy and volunteer work, when, in 1997, she and her family moved to Tokyo, where her husband, who was working at a financial services firm, was transferred. The move would change her life.
“I was being profoundly affected by the food culture in Japan, where people celebrate food—seasonal food, local food—and go to the market every day instead of stocking up their SUVs like there’s gonna be a nuclear attack, which I had been guilty of as well,” she says. “Those food-culture issues were changing who I was.”
When the family returned to Westchester in 2011, Schwartz planted a small garden and built a chicken coop in her backyard. “I saw a need for locally and organically grown food. Then… “I bought a goat.” Then she bought another—and she learned how to milk them. She went to France to apprentice in cheese-making. She expanded the garden and started a Community Agriculture Partnership and added bees, honey, lambs, cows, horses, and llamas to the farm.
And what did she do about money? “I was very fortunate: I was able to self-fund a lot of the business. I also had the land and a lot of the things I needed, and my husband was supportive in every sense.”
Today, Rainbeau Ridge distributes its goat cheese to local farmers’ markets, Stone Barns, Bedford Gourmet, Mount Kisco Seafood, and fine restaurants, such as Iron Horse Grill and Café of Love. The farm produces about 250 pounds of cheese per week. “I’m lucky that my product is unique and high quality. Everybody’s hurting, but with this product, customers are voting with their pocketbooks—they’d rather give up something else.”
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