By Tanya Henry
“If you can’t afford a gym membership, own a farm instead,” jokes Tisa Mantle, who along with her husband and two kids live and farm on almost an acre of land in Novato. In addition to providing food for their family, the farm also supplies the couple’s fine catering business, Componere, with a host of specialty microgreens, tomatoes, squash, peppers, fruit, honey and eggs.
“It’s surprising how much food you can produce on a relatively small amount of land,” says Mantle, who had no farming experience until moving to Novato from the East Bay in 2012. “I took some classes at Indian Valley College and started experimenting.”
Now five years later, Mantle cites wasabi arugula and pineapple guava petals as recent items that she planted specifically for special catering events. “We really like to focus on unique ingredients—to differentiate ourselves,” she says.
After Mantle’s husband Ethan worked in some of the country’s most celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants, including Fleur de Lys and The French Laundry, the couple started Componere, which is Latin for “to bring all the parts together.” Since 2004, they’ve been providing catering services for everything from intimate dinners, to wine country weddings to large corporate events.
“For the first four years we did everything ourselves,” Mantle says. But once the couple had their first child, she began shifting her focus from the business side of the company to the farm. Now, spending her time figuring out what grows best in her Marin microclimate, Mantle is quite happy to be out of the kitchen and in the garden.
Componere; 510/420-0900; componerefinecatering.com.