If you're heading to the Hamptons this summer, you have one assignment: Visit Caravan at Bhumi Farms. Selling healthy prepared food made with locally sourced ingredients, in ecofriendly packaging no less, Caravan is one mobile farm stand that is going to seriously upgrade your beach picnic game.
Cofounders Deeva Green, Lee Reitelman and Alexandra Cohen create unique dishes with strictly local items and international influences, and they're not afraid to go out on a limb. You won't find the predictable kale salad or avocado toast here.
The Terroir Bowl, one of their signature dishes whose contents evolve as the summer progresses, contains wheat berries, smoked blue fish and kale-stem pesto. Another version gets dressed with a sherry vinegar tahini sauce, kimchi and tatsoi, a Chinese green grown at the Bhumi property, which happens to be one of only two fully certified organic farms on the East End.
In addition to Terroir Bowls, Caravan makes frittatas, vegetable sides and dessert bowls filled with sweet ingredients you can feel good about, like maple-wheat berry porridge and stewed cardamom rhubarb. All three partners work together to develop the menus, taking inspiration from their extensive travels. An upcoming Tunisian tartine, served on a sweet potato loaf with blue fish, thinly slice egg, olives and hot sauce, is a loose riff on a dish the team discovered in Israel.
"From the beginning, it's been our goal first and foremost to let people taste the East End. That's sort of our motto: East End terroir. What does that mean? We don't want to back down from that even if it means serving something people aren't familiar with," Reitelman says.
He wasn't sure how customers would respond, but since the team launched over Memorial Day, people have been clamoring for the unique dishes.
Caravan currently offers breakfast and lunch on the weekends, and will continue to expand the program throughout the summer, eventually serving food six days a week. In July, Caravan will roll out a picnic program, selling large-format dishes that will feed a crowd and last out on the beach. Think big Greek salads with a base of thick yogurt, topped with roughly chopped tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, feta and pickled onions; or large crudités platters, based on a dish Green and Reitelman ate at Le Club 55 in the South of France. They're also planning to offer a mint cold brew, which "will probably go really well with Kahlúa," Reitelman suggests. Count us in.
Beachgoers will be able to call or order online until midnight on Thursday, and pick up their picnic boxes on their way to the beach Friday—or even at the beach, depending on where Caravan's truck is stationed that day. Stay tuned for details on Caravan's website.
The folks at Caravan have a true passion for fresh and sustainable ingredients. When talking about upcoming pea tendrils and the challenge of updating a menu based on each week's peak produce, Reitelman says, "It's so cool. It's like having a birthday, but they happen throughout the growing season."
With this dream team behind the wheel, Caravan is already riding high, and the summer's only just begun.
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