CSA Week 4–It’s Finally Raspberry Season: July 6-12

Is the long-term commitment one of the reasons you haven’t tried a CSA subscription yet? Most of us are gone from home at least a week or two during the summer. And most farmers understand that. While some CSA’s offer options to skip a week or donate your box, they all allow you to give your box to friends or family.

The funny thing is I’ve tried to do this many times. And it’s surprising how hard it is to give away $50 worth of the best fresh fruits and vegetables money can buy. (In fact, the same foods of lesser quality would cost more in the grocery store.) So when I got what remained of my box after my parents picked it up, I was excited to see my mom had used five of the 15 items.

So here’s what I had left for the week:

Week 4 Family Size CSA Box Including Yogurt and Cheese Shares

Week 4 of the Family-size CSA box from Growing Washington. Top half (left to right): Apricots, fava beans, scallions, mint, dried garbanzo beans, yellow onions, and green garlic. Bottom half: Green kale, handmade yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery, Gruyere cheese from Acme Farms, bunched green shallots, and pea shoots. Not shown: Rainbow chard, lettuce, Early Robin cherries, cucumbers, and mild & tender salad mix.

Local Raspberries and Other Summer Fruits

I can never eat enough raspberries in summer. So the same Sunday I got my CSA box, I also went to the farmers market. I eat as many meals as I can with fresh fruit, and freeze whatever might go bad before I get to it. (Notice this means anticipating something will spoil, not waiting for it to happen.) Fruit is versatile—try it in salads, breakfasts and desserts.

Fava Bean, Almond and Pea Shoot Salad With Local Raspberries

Raspberry, fava bean and pea shoot salad with toasted almonds, fresh mint, and parmesan cheese. Salad dressing made with poppy seeds, strawberry-balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Served with apricot-walnut levain bread from Columbia City Bakery. Combination of ingredients inspired by this recipe for strawberry, almond and pea salad.

Fresh fava beans are one of my early summer favorites. But they have a reputation for being too much work, with both shelling and peeling stages. Do it once and it’s no big deal. First, remove the pods. The favas will look like this:

Fresh Shelled Fava Beans

A specialty of early summer: fresh fava beans. Here the favas have been shelled but not peeled yet.

Then blanch the shelled fava beans in boiling water for a minute and drain. They will be easy to peel by cutting a slit with a knife or using your finger nail. After that, they are ready to eat—no more cooking needed. Note that peeling is not required. The skins are thick though and peeled favas are a beautiful bright green color. Whichever way you go, the yield is small. I always use them in dishes where they stand out, like this salad or this combo plate.

For breakfast, fresh fruit makes toast and hot cereal special.

Red and Orange Raspberries on Gruyere Toasts

Melted Gruyere cheese on apricot-walnut levain bread. Toasts topped with fresh red and orange local raspberries.

Hot Cereal With Cherries, Almonds and Bee Pollan With Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Toast

Hot cereal with cherries, almonds and bee pollen. Served with peanut butter and cinnamon toast.

And because you can never have too many dessert ideas:

Yogurt Panna Cotta With Fresh, Local Raspberries

I love this recipe for an easy and healthier take on panna cotta. This time I made it with coconut sugar and topped it with red and orange raspberries just before serving.

The best is when you can take dessert and turn it into breakfast. I like fresh apricots but they are most flavorful when cooked. I tossed apricots and bing cherries with cornstarch and almond extract before roasting. On it’s own, this is enough for a delicious end to the meal. Still, I made a simple crisp topping by rubbing together rolled oats, brown sugar, salt and butter. I served the baked fruit with fresh, local raspberries and the cream layer from the top of my yogurt. A dessert worth this minimal effort. Especially when this was breakfast the next day:

Baked Apricots and Cherries With Yogurt, Rolled Oats and Local Raspberries

Dessert becomes breakfast. Leftover roast fruit served with yogurt, rolled oats, and fresh raspberries.

For more specifics about making crisps, watch my rhubarb crisp video.

How About Leafy Greens?

You knew that was coming. I can hardly believe I haven’t posted about grits, greens and eggs since December. Well, clearly I was overdue.

Grits, Kale and Scrambled Eggs

Still one of my breakfast favorites. Grits topped with parmesan cheese and scrambled eggs with shallots. Served with kale sautéed in butter, red pepper flakes and apple cider vinegar.


For more ideas, read my posts from Weeks 1 and 2 here: leafy greens and more greens.

But Are You Expecting Flatbreads?

In another surprising turn (to me), I haven’t posted much about flatbreads either. Surprising because I’m turning to flatbreads more and more. Flatbreads are a great compromise between bread and crackers. For minimal work compared to either one, they yield delicious results. They’re also an easy place to get started with yeast baking.

This week, I followed the flatbread recipe on my bag of chickpea flour (a new ingredient for me!). A filling meal when combined with the haloumi I always keep in the fridge.

Saganaki and Chickpea Flatbreads

Saganaki is haloumi cheese that is pan-fried and lit at the table for dramatic effect. Fortunately, it tastes good even if you can’t get the alcohol to light. Served here with chickpea flatbreads and fresh mint.


Leftover flatbreads can be reheated in the oven or toaster oven. They are more cracker-like but still good. I took a no-food-waste approach to this lunch:

Leftover Flatbread With Kale-Yogurt Dip

Combine leftovers for an easy dip. I stirred brazil nuts, garam masala and yogurt into leftover sautéed kale and braised vegetables. Served as a spread with toasted flatbreads.


That Old Standby Pasta

These two meals are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. The first is a refined recipe. The second was thrown together from scraps destined for the compost bin. Yet, both were simple and delicious. For more pasta ideas, read almost any post on this blog. But this one’s an overview on adding vegetables to pasta.

Tomato Sauce With Onion and Butter on Fusilli Pasta

Pasta with homemade tomato sauce. I used home-canned tomatoes (thanks, neighbors!) and left the onion in for serving but otherwise followed this recipe.


Kitchen Scraps Pasta with Walnuts and Parmesan

Pasta dinner made with kitchen scraps: the pureed stems from kale and pea shoots. I added fresh mint, garlic and olive oil to the puree. Pasta garnished with walnuts and parmesan cheese.


A small confession here. I don’t love pea shoots. Does this sound minor to you? Well I have a personal goal to like everything—or everything plant-based anyway. (Cilantro, I can finally say I couldn’t live without you.) It’s not that I don’t like pea shoots. The leaves are quite tasty. It’s the stems that I can’t ever seem to enjoy. And I find it impossible to get excited about a food when I throw more than half of it out. But with this puree, I can finally look forward to more pea shoots. The point is, if you don’t like the flavor of something, keep trying it. My husband learned to like olives this way. If you don’t like the texture of something, then change it. À la pea shoot puree.

The End of The Week (But Only Four Days Later)

You might have noticed that a lot of the ingredients in these meals didn’t come from my CSA box. Remember I was gone for part of the week. My mom used some of the most perishable ingredients: the fruit, cucumbers and lettuces. With a variety of alliums and even dried legumes, it was a low-pressure week for perishability. And at the end of it, quite a few items remained:

End of Week 4 CSA Box

Remaining ingredients after one week from Week 4 of the Family-size CSA box. From left to right: Scallions, yellow onion, green garlic, mint, bunched green shallots, and dried garbanzo beans. Everything except the mint keeps well for more than a week.


So now the pressure is on for next week.


If you’d like more information about any of these July CSA meals, leave me a comment.

Read more about my “Week in Review” posts.

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