Shipping Tomatoes?

lovetogarden2008July 8, 2009

I live on the left coast and my mother lives on the east coast. Her toms are doing very badly due to the weather and mine are robust robust robust! None ripe yet, but tons of fruit.

She is going to be 89 next month and I was thinking of making a bday package of some of my best toms and shipping them to her overnight.

Does that seem reasonable? How would I pack them?


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It is totally reasonable. Last year I shipped my very best friend in Missouri, who loves home grown tomatoes, fresh tomatoes once a month. She used to have a garden but was no longer able to. I picked them at first blush, when the very first color started to appear, but still lots of green. I wrapped them in newspaper and cushioned them on the bottom and top and in between with crunched up newspaper. Sent them with USPS, and it wasn't terribly expensive. I think around $8. But I didn't choose priority mail or second day delivery. The tomatoes needed time to ripen fully so it didn't matter the time frame. Send your Mom some tomatoes! Just tell her to sit them on her counter to fully ripen when they get there.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 9:48PM
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star_stuff(Greensboro NC 7a)

Thats a great idea! I would wrap them individually, and pack them all in a sturdy cardboard box surrounded with lots of soft stuffing/newspaper so nothing moves around. USPS Priority Mail takes 2-3 business days from west coast to east coast. You can do all of your shipping from home if you weigh your package to the lb. And Priority is slightly cheaper when printed online versus Post Office.

And then you can schedule a free Carrier Pick Up for the next day:

I sound like a USPS advertisement LOL!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:32PM
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star_stuff(Greensboro NC 7a)

If your package is heavy, 3 lbs or more, your best bet from west to east coast is a USPS Priority Flat Rate box (2-3 day transit). Its $10 regardless of weight or destination. And all Priority boxes are free. Hope this helps. (I ship things every day ~I have one that I should be packing right now hehe!) :-)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:47PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

If possible, ship early in the week so that a one-day delay won't mean that arrival changes from the expected Friday to Monday. That's what many vendors who ship plants do.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:59PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Great idea! My birthday is in August and if I don't have tomatoes by then, gifts will be gratefully accepted. I will even cheerfully register as a charity so the fair market value of any extra tomatoes will be tax deductible if anyone is uncomfortable with the gift giving thing. :)


    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 12:05AM
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Thanks for all of your input. Won't she be surprised! Her bday is 8/20, so there's plenty of time for my toms to get ready.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 12:17PM
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I shipped tomatoes from Illinois to Florida. I picked them at first blush, wrapped them individually in newspaper and sent them by UPS. The ones on all four corners had a little damage but not enough that they could not be used. The rest of the box, a double computer paper box, was fine.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:52PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

I have a friend who has had to give up growing tomatoes because of back problems. I intend to ship him a few Brandywines and Cherokee Purples once a month. Wrapped up in newspaper and surrounded by styrofoam peanuts, they should do just fine.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 12:14AM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Boy, if I was having a better year, I would suggest mailing some trades with other forum members. That would be fun, esp. trying varieties that you have been wanting to try or that don't do well in your area but do great much better for others.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 12:59AM
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Hi Sue,

That is a great idea! I am in New Jersey and am growing Plum and Beefsteak tomatoes if anyone is interested.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 7:32PM
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I shipped off a package today. I wrapped the toms in bubble wrap and padded the top and bottom with newspaper. I did some green and some with a little blush and some with medium ripe.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all is well.

It's going to be her 89th bday. Yikes!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 7:45PM
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I'm glad to say that the tomatoes all arrived without getting bruised. Good eats!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 2:01PM
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Can I be next?! lol

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 5:08PM
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You betcha! :D

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 8:19PM
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I would love to buy some Jersey Tomatoes if anyone would be willing to ship them to Utah.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 12:25AM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

You guys are GREAT!! Just yesterday I was trying to think of a way to send some fresh veggies from my garden to my grandsons. You have given me the info I needed. Monday I will ship some tomatoes and carrots - with the tops! They are going to love this. You see I will be sending them yellow tomatoes and yellow carrots :-))


    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 1:32AM
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Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for posting about how to ship tomatoes. You chat came up right away when I googled my question and I have just discovered and joined Garden Web.

So I sent three heirloom tomatoes to San Diego today from Sacramento. The sad news is that today is Sunday and mail pick-up will not happen until tomorrow 3pm. That said, things move pretty quickly around California and I am hoping they will arrive by Tues or Weds.

I will post an update.

I packed in newspaper as suggested in a very sturdy box. Did not use the styrofoam peanuts although I had those but was wondering if they had toxins that might impact my tomatoes or the moisture content of the package? Oh, I did include a lot of fresh oregano from the garden.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:56PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I think more important than wrapping , (or as important) is using a sturdy box, that will resist collapsing. Also make sure they don't rattle in the box.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:20PM
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