Pair trades city life for olive oil farm

Bocca Bella Farms surreal for Jantz and Rahman

Bocca Bella is Italian for beautiful mouth and encompasses the ideals and family history of new owners, Johnny Jantz and Shaana Rahman and the experience they create when sharing Bocca Bella Farms certified extra-virgin olive oils.
Two years ago, duo, Jantz and Rahman were looking for an escape from the city life, hoping to find a little cottage on the coast. What they found in San Miguel was a lifestyle.
“It is funny we never set out with the thought, ‘oh we want to find an olive farm and make olive oil,’ but when we happened upon this amazing land for sale in San Miguel we thought, ‘why not check it out?’” Rahman said. “Now two years later we are making olive oil, it is surreal.”
Rahman said that the inspiration for the name and the feel of the location was largely influenced by memories of her large Italian family.
“Bocca Bella is my grandmother’s maiden name so when we found the property the reference to my family just fit so well,” she said explaining that the translation was beautiful mouth. “I was raised by my mom and my Italian family and I remember my grandma would cook these amazing giant meals out of nothing and there was always a giant thing of olive oil in the kitchen. It is those types of memories that stick with you and so this is a testament to my mother and grandma.”
She explained that even the label art for the brand was inspired by and created by her mother, who was an artist before she passed away.
“The first label art is a wood cut of my grandmother that my mother had done years ago and the art for this year’s Field Blend we used the same image but in an oil painting,” Rahman said as Jantz added that it was strange how perfect the branding was along with the family name.
Jantz is a chef by trade with 30 years to his credit saying, “It was providence. We walked onto the property and just fell in love with the landscape, the trees and the peaceful feeling it gave us.”
Rahman agreed saying that they took a leap and once they started it felt like a natural fit. As a trial lawyer, Rahman says owning her own practice has prepared her to run almost any business. So pairing her business knowledge with Jantz’s masterful cooking skills, “it all came together,” she said.
Jantz manages the farm and is the chef, Rahman manages sales and events and they both work the field through harvest and production. Bocca Bella is the epitome of the boutique olive oil producer, offering only two small-lot varieties.
The first is what Jantz calls the perfect tasting oil. It is 100 percent Arbequina olive oil, which has a peppery bite and a clean grassy finish. The second is a mild blend that Rahman said is great for all-purpose cooking, baking and eating out of hand, called the Field Blend.
Part of the experience at Bocca Bella is enjoying a taste of the olive oil. This is done in two ways — in a tasting cup — swirl, sip, aerate over the tongue and swallow. And, as a finishing oil on some food prepared by chef Jantz.
“We just finished building our tasting room and bottling area in one,” Rahman said explaining that Jantz had done the work himself. “With the new space we plan to offer more special events where we partner with a local winemaker and make pairings. People can come bottle their own olive oil and we offer chef prepared meals by reservation for those who want to enjoy more than just the standard tasting experience.”
Rahman and Jantz explained that they wanted to create an environment that is inviting and has an open, family friendly, farm to table atmosphere.
To enjoy the beautiful mouth feel, taste expertly executed chef prepared meals and taste Bocca Bella Farms’ olive oils call 794-8582 or visit boccabellafarms.com to make a reservation.