Eating Local: Sea Bean’s Slow Food Truck Works The Land

The first of-its-kind organic slow food truck, featuring ingredients from chef Shawn Christman's farm, debuts on the East End.
Chef Shawn Christman and his family on their farm.

Named after both an edible marsh plant as well as fruits and seeds that have been shaped by the ocean and washed ashore, The Sea Bean Natural Foods Co. brings homegrown food from farm to beach chair. The food truck catering company is the first of its kind in Montauk (or anywhere in the state for that matter) to branch out into farming its own beans, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, Oaxacan green dent corn and blue corn. Helmed by chef Shawn Christman, the brand offers the usual catering fare, i.e., clambakes and pig roasts galore, out of its red-striped food truck, which has served the likes of Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Madonna and Bill Clinton.

This summer, the company introduces a “Catering CSA program,” the concept based on Community Supported Agriculture, in which customers entrust the chef-farmer with designing a menu based on what’s available that week. “Whether the client tells me that they are looking for passed hors d’oeuvres or traditional catering, we will pick the best produce from our farm,” says Christman, a Montauk native and classically trained chef, who was looking to diversify the company’s offerings and work the land.

“You won’t find octopus on my menu, because it’s not found locally,” continues Christman, formerly of Nick & Toni’s and Topping Rose House. Instead, The Sea Bean Co. will be offering hearty dishes like fried green tomatoes with fava bean relish and baby arugula, and a baby vegetable ragù with a poached local egg and grilled ramps. Local fans need not fret: Christman’s not getting rid of his signature fish tacos with line-caught, locally fished porgy, or Montauk Brewing Company beer-battered fish and chips, anytime soon. This season, they just come with some additional oomph from his farm: “We’ll serve them with a Nam Jim Vietnamese condiment that we make with chilis, garlic and shallots from our garden.”  –Natasha Wolff