When we evaluate new grower and rancher partners at CAVA, we take a few things very seriously. We look for the best professionals in the industry with regional relevance to our guests, and sustainable and transparent practices.

But we’re looking for something else, too. We’re looking for partners who are putting hustle and heart into everything they do — because that’s how we do things, too. These are the kinds of people who draw you in, teach you something new, and make you believe — really, truly believe — in what they’re putting out into the world.

David Oien is one of those partners.

David Oien, owner of Timeless Lentils, in his fieldWhen you meet David Oien, you would never know he’s a transformational leader who’s been driving a revolution in his home state of Montana for the past 30 years. You would never know that he saw the unassuming black lentil and knew it could become so much more than a crop used for livestock feed. You would never know he’s the man who decided there was another way beyond wheat in the Midwest.

David Oien is a change-maker in every sense of the word.

Watch his story:

Timeless celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. Founded by David alongside three close friends and fellow growers, this mindful farming collective has been challenging the norm since the beginning.

Crops like the black beluga lentils thrive alongside other heritage crops like purple prairie barley and black chickpeas. You can even find Timeless products on the shelves of select specialty grocery stores.

And, most importantly, you can find Timeless black lentils in every one of our CAVA locations.

As we’ve grown across the East Coast and in southern California, our food and beverage team have faced new challenges. We’ve asked ourselves questions. How do we provide thoughtfully grown ingredients to our guests across multiple regions? How do we maintain sustainable pricing while still seeking the best ingredients out there? How do we partner with smaller niche farms at the same time as we’re building relationships with larger partners poised to grow as we do.

We pursued Timeless because they were one of those partners. They’re producing an ingredient that’s interesting, delicious, protein-dense, and in-demand — and they’re doing it at a scale that’s reaching our CAVA guests on both coasts. They’re producing crops that, rather than depleting the land or exhausting its nutrient density, are enriching it. As they grow, they’re fueling the lives and livelihoods of farmers across the region. And as they grow, they’re fueling you, our CAVA guests.

We’ll continue to seek the best grower and rancher partners in the country to bring you vibrant, nourishing meals. And we’ll continue to innovate and play with ingredients to let them shine. We’re really just getting started.

We hope you enjoy digging into a colorful bowl that starts with our black lentils — or that you’ll try them out now that you know a little more.

And we hope you enjoyed David’s story. We can’t wait to tell the next one.

Learn more about Timeless. // Follow CAVA on YouTube.