Shipping

You’ve noticed we don’t offer one-size-fits-all shipping. That’s because we manually calculate shipping for every single box individually. It’s extra work for us but it provides you with the true costs. We understand that you would appreciate an approximate cost before you place your order. Here’s a chart that breaks it down (more or less):

USPS Shipping Zones from Rainbow Tomatoes Garden at ZIP code 18041 (pirateship.com)
Tins/WeightUSPS ServiceCost (estimate)Holidays
1 tinFirst Class Mail$1.56 and up+0.30
2-3 tinsSmall Flat Rate$8.25+0.75
4-18 tins
(up to 15 lbs)
Regional Rate AZone
NYC, Philadelphia, DC1 & 2$8.38+0.25
Boston, Richmond3$8.58+0.25
Akron, Charlotte, Detroit4$8.88+0.25
Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta5$9.55+0.75
Miami, Dallas6$11.55+0.75
Denver, San Antonio7$12.32+0.75
LA, Seattle, HI & AK8$13.54+0.75
12-30 tins
(up to 20 lbs)
Regional Rate BZone
NYC, Philadelphia, DC1 & 2$8.88+1.50
Boston, Richmond3$9.37+1.50
Akron, Charlotte, Detroit4$10.12+1.50
Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta5$12.49+3.00
Miami, Dallas6$16.61+3.00
Denver, San Antonio7$19.59+3.00
LA, Seattle, HI & AK8$22.51+3.00
Rates as of January 9, 2022. Subject to change. USPS applies Holiday surcharges during busy seasons. We will send you an exact shipping charge after you order.

Check your Zone

This handy Zone Calculator tool lets you see what zone your ZIP code is, when starting from our ZIP code of 18041.

In most cases Zoned shipping is less expensive than Flat Rate shipping. However, in some cases, Zoned shipping is actually more expensive. Whenever we find that’s the case, we will ship using a different USPS class to save you money. Again, the rates on this page are just to give you a rough idea, we will pack up your order and find the best possible way to ship it for you and let you know the total with shipping (and payment option details) after we pick and pack your order.

International Shipping

We ship everywhere the USPS will ship. However, it is expensive. The most cost effective option is USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes.

  • Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box holds 2-3 tins. $35-$45 depending on the destination.
  • Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box holds approximately 26-36 tins. $60-$85 depending on the destination.
  • Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box holds approximately 40-55 tins. $80-$120 depending on the destination.

Filling the Medium and Large boxes varies wildly depending on the mix of products ordered. An entire box of the same thing = maximum number of tins. Products in glass (bottles of sauce) or bags (seaweed flakes) that require additional protection will take up the space of many tins.

We are happy to work with you to maximize your order. Place your “starter” order for things you definitely want. After we box the those up, we’ll let you know if there’s room for more. If that’s the case, we’ll ask you to give us a list of extra products and we can completely fill the box. When the box is full, we will send you a final total with shipping. You can choose at that point whether to ship or cancel the order. One of the benefits of handling payments after ordering is that we can communicate with you and reconfigure orders all the way up to cancelling when necessary.

Special Shipping Requests

If you want to split an order, combine orders with a friend in your neighborhood, get an overnight shipment, order a ‘Dine Gram* for an online friend, or any other creative shipping idea you might have, we will do our best to make it happen.

We can print a note to include in gift boxes. Send a PDF or just the text you’d like to include. Text notes are printed on vertical half-page card stock. PDFs print on letter-size sheet, color laser printed.

Shipping tips

Fill it up. To make the most of the regional rate boxes, fill the box up with goodies! Get it close to the max weight. We absolutely will ship a “Regional Rate A” box with just four tins in it, but we can help you with suggestions for what will fill the gaps if you want to make a larger purchase and take advantage of the cost savings of zoned rate shipping.

Delicate items take more box volume. Wrapping a glass bottle or protecting a bag of seaweed flakes from being crushed requires extra packing material. Packing materials take space. We can fit up to 16 cans (if they’re the right cans) in a Regional Rate A box, but only 2-3 bags of seaweed flakes. And only one bag if you also include one tin, because that one bag needs to be protected from the bouncing around of the tin. Imagine a bowling ball in a box with a bag of chips.

Our Packing Materials

We are a “packing material negative” company, meaning we share with others more packing material repurposed from incoming shipments than we use. We reuse all the packaging that comes in to us and have never purchased any interior packing material. Opening your box is an adventure in mixed media.

Just like in our tomato gardens, we avoid plastic. Our packing peanuts are corn starch (and reused from incoming shipments); the tape we use is unreinforced, water-activated adhesive tape. Reinforced tape uses fiberglass (which never biodegrades, never) and we opted to avoid that. The only plastic we ever use in packing is what is donated to us or arrives in shipments from other companies. We give a second life to plastic bubble mailers by using them to protect hot sauce bottles.


*’Dine Gram is a cool real-life gifting game started by Redditors on r/CannedSardines. You buy a tin of sardines for a friend – you don’t need their address, only a Reddit username. I will send them a PM to let them know they have a can of sardines pre-paid to go in their next order.