What to do with your CSA box when you go on vacation?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go

I’ve been blasting Christmas carols all week. November might seem too early. Yet, with retailers already selling Christmas decorations, I think Christmas carols are fair game.

My rain-drenched shoes are another reminder that fall is coming to an end. Which means holiday seasons are around the corner!

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Festive pumpkins mark the beginning of the holiday seasons. What will you do with your CSA box when you’re on vacation?

With Thanksgiving as soon as next week, and Christmas following thereafter, I’ve given some thought to what will happen to my CSA boxes while I am out of town.

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This article is a summary of how to handle your CSA box if you’re going on vacation. Be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, or summer vacation, read on to learn all your options.


All of my CSA services sent me an email to inform me they have a modified schedule during Thanksgiving week. My Friday delivery is now scheduled for Wednesday. My Thursday delivery is scheduled for Monday. And my Wednesday delivery I cancelled.

Put it on Hold

Yes, that’s right. You can put deliveries on hold with enough advance notice. Whenever you go on vacation, you can skip that week.

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I talked to Aurora Wilson, the partner of the Greenhearts Family Farm on the phone about this.

“Give us 72-hour advanced notice if you’re going out of town,” she told me.

How to communicate

In one case, I call the number and talk directly to the CSA manager. For another farm, I tend to email them as they don’t pick up their phones much.

And finally, one CSA farm has a great online portal where I can see a schedule of planned deliveries. Through the portal, I put deliveries on hold.

What happens to your payment for that week?

Since you prepaid for your subscription to the CSA farm, you might be thinking “what happens to my money for that week?” Great question. Usually, the farms will extend your subscription by tacking on however many weeks you skip to the end of your subscription. Since you already paid, it’s easier to extend than to refund the payment.

In other cases, the farm might give you a credit for the next season, if you choose to return for future subscriptions.

What if you forget to give advance notice?

Recruit a friend

Most CSA services say that you can ask a neighbor or a friend to pick up the box. They can enjoy the fruits and vegetables for that week.

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Gift your friend your CSA box if you’re going out of town and forgot to cancel it.

It’s a great solution because:

  • it avoids food waste
  • your friend or neighbor gets to enjoy delicious food for the week
  • it’s a smart promotional strategy to get others aware of CSA boxes.

Of course, you have to provide detailed instructions as it’s not always easy for a newbie to find the box the first time.

You can also ask the CSA farm to donate your box to the local charity.

“We partner with schools and we can offer families in need at the school,” Aurora told me. “We might donate it to the food bank or families we know of who are in need.”

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In fact, she mentioned that there are numerous customers who are frequent business travelers.

“A lot of people travel during the week but they still want to support the farm while they’re out. They will ask us to donate the box.” – Aurora Wilson, Greenhearts Family Farm

Worst-case scenario

If all else fails, you can rest easy knowing that your CSA host member will enjoy your CSA box if you have a drop-off location. For those who have delivery, a simple post on Nextdoor can alert your neighbors to the free goodies outside your door.

Anna looking down chopping vegetables
About Anna Rider

Hi! I'm Anna, a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on GarlicDelight.com with the help of my physicist and taste-testing husband, Alex. I have an insatiable appetite for noodles 🍜 and believe in "improv cooking".

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