When asked if her food store is an extension of what she would have in her own home, executive chef Eva Pesantez’s response was simple: “Totally. I cook the food I want to eat.”
Heading into its third summer, Wishbone Farms—reopening for the season this week—is a hybrid of specialty food store and grocery, with its grab-and-go creations crafted by Pesantez herself. Named for what was originally set out as a rotisserie chicken concept along with her brother and co-owner, Josh Lebowitz, plans for opening a new business were temporarily put on hold due to Covid. Although their own farm isn’t associated with the market, “yet,” says Pesantez, “our business does partner with tons of local farms” for the ingredients used in the ample number of prepared dishes she makes. “I pride myself on using as many local ingredients as possible,” she says.
Open since 2021 in what used to be Sean’s Deli on Hampton Road in Southampton Village, Wishbone Farms offers familiar faves like coffee, breakfast sandwiches and soups. Among their more unique offerings are Pesantez’s farro salads, veggie meatballs, different varieties of salmon and baked goods made in house. As far as grocery items go, local is king, as they sell eggs from Shelter Island’s Sylvester Manor, milk from Brooklyn’s Five Acre Farms, and heirloom tomato sauce from Vine Street Cafe.
Pantry staples are also available, like For Five coffee, Southampton’s own Plain-T teabags, organic grains, pickles and dozens of different types of canned and bottle beverages. “I’ve always wanted to build a sort of commissary,” she notes. They also offer a plethora of packaged items, locally made artisanal cheeses and “the best ice cream sandwich in the history of the world,” according to Pesantez. You can even buy your summer CSA subscription (for Sylvester Manor) at Wishbone.
“Our grocery store items are from a lot of women-owned businesses,” she says. “And the majority are from New York. These things have always been important to me.”
Here on the East End, there’s been a surge of specialty food stores opening up shop in recent years, with Pesantez noting hers is one of many pandemic-born businesses. “This is a pandemic-proof business,” she says. “It doesn’t depend on people sitting down, it depends on people coming in, buying something and then leaving. It’s, for lack of a better word, clean.”
Echoing that sentiment, Wishbone Farms offers unique catering options year-round. Click here to see what they’ve got. Pesantez and her small team also offer custom made food boxes containing items set to meet your smaller, and maybe more immediate, culinary needs. Heading out east from the city, but there’s nothing to eat at home? Get on the horn with Wishbone and let them assemble a box for you to pick-up. All you’d have to do is re-heat. “The boxes are meant to be a build-your-own,” Pesantez says. “You choose which items you want and how much of each. The idea is to create a box you can pick up to make meals simple.”
Originally from Brooklyn, Pesantez splits her time between her East End home on Shelter Island and her apartment on the lower east side with her husband. It was from her early days as a dishwasher at a Shelter Island restaurant where her love for food and the food business gained palpable momentum. After working for two seasons, “I decided I was going to do my 16th birthday party,” she says. “My mother is an amazing cook. Being Jewish, food is a very significant part of life,” she laughs.
After a brief winter break, Wishbone Farms re-opens Wednesday, April 5th, at 7 a.m. and is open through Sunday. Be sure to check out their specials for Easter and Passover. For the rest of the month, they’ll be open Thursday through Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Stop by their store, located at 54 Hampton Road in Southampton, for a cup of coffee and a peruse. You’ll likely find something you need, and you’ll definitely find something you love.