boscomillie Los Angeles, CA (1 review) February 18, 2014
This will be my fourth year cultivating heirloom tomatoes. I stumbled onto Laurel's website last year. I had ordered some seedlings from some other companies the year prior. I am an attorney and generally very cynical so take this review with that in mind.
I ordered about 30 different strains. The selection is really outstanding. The means of ordering could definitely be more automated. And it is hard to scroll through so many choices. You do have to read carefully to find out how to structure your email. Although, I have no idea if you don't follow the instructions if you get a spanking.
Laurel was very helpful in picking plants. The shipping method was awesome. Every plant came in great shape, healthy, and ready to go. No diseases, no pests. The plants were well established and did really well.
When I lost a couple plants from some 50 mph wind storm, she helped me instantly get some new ones to replace them.
My in-laws purchased a gift certificate for me for the holidays. Apparently, my father in law very much enjoyed speak with Laurel as have I.
I am in the process of ordering for this year. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of the selection, the packing, the speed of shipping, and Laurel herself for walking me through a few things.
LooneyLinda Mantua, UT (Zone 4b) (36 reviews) June 12, 2013
Posted on May 23, 2007, updated June 12, 2013
The plants I received were in peak condition and the packaging could not have been better--not a speck of dirt outside the container. I wish I could show you a picture of how they arrived. Two plants will be shipped later because they needed to grow a little more. Hope they are in the same condition. I will order again. On June 12th, 2013, LooneyLinda added the following:
I ordered another Purple Haze this year because I love it. Plant arrived in great condition. Packaged perfectly. Talked to Laurel by phone. She was very helpful. Appreciated the "heads up" that the order was shipped. Will certainly order again.
I placed an order with Laurel in mid January this year and she was extremely polite and helpful in handling the order. I later called and added to my order, and asked to change the shipping schedule. She again patiently and politely complied with my request, as well as spending time chatting with me and giving me a lot of great tomato growing advice. I received all the items I ordered exactly on time. The plants I received were absolutely mind blowingly excellent. I have never seen such strong and healthy plants of any kind.
I won't hesitate to buy from Laurel again.
I am UTTERLY DISAPPONTED with the plants I received this year from Laurel. Last year more than half of the plants I got died very soon after planting because they had arrived so stressed. I blamed our Mississippi Hot Sun and did not bother Laurel with it. So this year I had the plants arrive sooner, so they would not be received in the 100+ degree heat. I was not home the day the plants arrived (Saturday), so when I got home on Monday night and the poor plants were all nearly dead... it was not hot out at all... in fact it was cool and had been cloudy and rainy for two days prior to my opening the box. The PLANTS ALL DIED now, a week later. Laurel maintains that this is all my fault, and will not even offer a discount or anything to help ease my pain. I WAY OVERPAID for these plants to begin with, but I was intrigued with the heirloom varieties.... not worth it if what is received is a box of death.
For better service and much healthier plants, I recommend tomatobabycompany.com. Alainia is much more responsive and concerned for her customer's happiness than Laurel is... Laurel saw my situation as an opportunity to bilk me for another order of overpriced plants! I should have never stopped buying my plants from Alainia at tomatobabycompany.com... she did a great job with the packing and she was very pleasant and cares about her 'babies'.
In short: avoid Laurel's unconcerned posh California overpriced plants that arrive dead and go with a nice country gal who will send you the best tomato starts you've ever seen.
And just to let you know, I did give Laurel an opportunity to settle this situation with me and told her I would probably leave a scorching review for her on Dave's Garden... but she simply DOES NOT CARE!
Spend big $$$ for DEATH-IN-A-BOX if you want to... you have been warned.Company representative comment on May 7, 2013: On May 7, 2013 4:56 PM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
I understand your frustration. It’s very sad that the plants sat in their box at your house for 3 days before you got home. Live plants need air and sunshine right away on the day they arrive.
But I am puzzled to find you blaming me. Had you been home Saturday when they arrived, they would have come out of the box healthy and beautiful just like the plants we’ve sent you for the past few years.
As you know, we shipped on Wed. You told me, when I called you yesterday, that you got the email confirming the Wednesday shipment, knew the plants were on the way to arrive Friday or Saturday and knew you wouldn’t be home until Monday night.
I don't see how I could have helped.
They arrived quickly and safely—but there was no one home to open the box. What could I have done from Los Angeles to get that box open in Mississippi where it sat, sealed tight, at your house all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday? They needed to be in the fresh air and sunshine right away. They should have come out of the box on Saturday; of course they did not survive.
Had the mistake been mine, if I had mis-addressed the package or made another error, I would have happily sent replacements immediately at no cost. I have, 3 or 4 times in the past 12 years, made a mistake like that and reshipped at no cost.
But I did not make any mistake with your plants. The plants would have been fine had they been taken out of the box on Saturday when they arrived rather than Monday night when you got home. Yet you wanted me to resend the entire order for free after your mistake.
You threatened that if I didn't send free plants you would trash me at Dave's Garden. And here we are.
This is the second year I have ordered from Laurel's Tomatoes. I found Laurel's web page while surfing the net for different types of tomatoes. I called and we talked briefly, I placed my first order. My tomatoes came on time and they were beautiful plants. I put them in the ground and they grew and produced just as advertised. I was so impressed with how each individual plant was packaged. Great care and study was done with the design to shipping. My tomatoes arrived with all leaves attached. Not one broken little branch!! I was amazed. Laurel is very professional and knows her product! I just received my second year's order and the quality of the healthy plants didn't disappoint. The plants have quite a journey. From California to the good old Midwest, Des Moines Iowa I could and have all my years of gardening bought plants locally. I can honestly say it is worth a little extra to pay for shipping and get the quality and positivity of Laurel's Tomatoes.
I came across Laurel's excellent webpage last year, and enjoyed its literate and extremely helpful comments on all matters tomato, including cheerful links to the seed companies from which she starts her plants. I took her advice on selections, and appreciated her frank comments, but bought the plants from local purveyors. The results were promising, enough to make me believe that she deserved my business. I called her on the phone, marveling at her availability and her apparent personal interest in my project. I ordered seven plants, drove down to her Orange County location, and picked up the plants (regretting only that I did not get to meet her). I have since planted the seedlings and begun to harvest wonderful tomatoes, and my plants are now approaching six feet in height. I will say more at the end of the season, but so far, I have to say that in 40 years of gardening this is the best gardening connection I have ever made.
Shipping was quoted as estimated at $10.80. Actual shipping $23.96. Since that is more than double the quote I think I should have been notifed of the increase.Company representative comment on March 1, 2013: On Mar 1, 2013 11:58 AM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
With each order confirmation this phrase is included in 2 separate 'very easy to see' areas:
"Your shipping cost is an estimate. If the difference is more than $2.00 either way, we will refund or charge the difference."
This customers plants were more than 15" tall, requiring a larger carton, thus the PO charges us more to ship and we charge the customer for the difference. All of this information is covered in great detail at our website on the payment and shipping info page and as I noted, on the customer's receipt.
We also refund any over payment when actual shipping is less than our estimate.
Five Star Experience *****
My order arrived in the first week of my "delivery window". The plants were beautiful and healthy. I had a large green house planned to receive them, but it was not completed in time to plant them right away.
Of course they became sick as they languished waiting for the green house. I called Laurel in despair and found that she remembered me from our earlier conversation and the list of tomatoes I had ordered.
We decided they had arrived too early for my season and not been in the best growing conditions since.
When she initially expressed concern at my early "window" choice I assured
her I would have a green house.
My bad, this was my first real garden in years and I see now I was overly optimistic.
She said she would put me back on the list and send me a new set of plants at the proper planting time.
I was thrilled and thankful to be given a second "First" chance.
Unfortunately only 2 weeks later I found out the Landlord intended to sell.
I called Laurel to let her know so she could cancel the new order.
She was polite as any time I have spoken with her.
She understood AND she gave me a full refund, within five minutes.
I will be getting my plants from Laurel next season for sure, besides, I still have a carefully chosen list of 11 delightful sounding Tomato plants I want
My experience was Five Star!
As a multi-year repeat customer. I again recd great personal attention, prompt delivery and follow-up from Laurel. - To Pensacola FL! The plants were superior to any available. I remain very satisfied. Keep up the Superior service and plants! Thanks.
Posted on April 6, 2011, updated April 11, 2011
This is the second year that I have ordered plants from Laurel the RUDE Tomato Lady.
I was a first time customer and spent $136 on tomato starts with out shipping! I had called and emailed the first year but she kept changing when I could pick up the plants. I wanted to get my garden going and could not wait any longer.
Laurel was so rude the first year because I went there on the wrong day. I would hope that Laurel would be polite enough to give me my plants and explain her schedule. Instead she snapped at her mother (she works with Laurel) when her mom offered to help me, then she fairly threw the plants and me and hustled me to my car. And it was not the full order! Wow, what a trip. All of this abuse, just for some tomato starts.
After that encounter I wrote her an email to say that I thought that she was overworked, maybe was having a bad day. She wrote back to say that was the case and she was going to slow down a little. OK.
I tried it again...I made an order in November 2010 for pick up in spring of 2011. I ordered and paid in advance. ($88 bucks for tomatoes!) Along with the tomato starts (6-4" plants) I ordered boxes of fertilizer and a cloth pots. She emailed me and told me approx. time when I could pick up the plants.
The problem is-
1) The pick up times are useless, because you must wait for confirmation from her to proceed. And even if you go on the correct day your plants may not be ready. Calling her requires repeated calls because he phone messages are full. And it takes days to get a response from your email queries.
2) Laurel ships to the whole country so she has to consider all zones for planting. This is her issue. I don't care to line up according to her other orders. Especially since I (over) paid for them so far in advance! I'm in LA so our planting time is in late March early April. This is my issue, I just want my plants when the earth is ready for them.
Cut to- I call her in the morning, I email her. No response. This is Los Angeles, we have passed our cold snap and I would like to start my garden. So I make the trek out to Lomita. She is even ruder than the year before, if that is possible.
I tell her that I called and emailed. But she is very brusque and slams the door in my face abruptly cutting off my response to her snarky remark about the being the wrong day and that she is very busy. She then barks at the poor girl that works for her to pull my order and tries to tell the girl not to give me a chair while I wait... And again I do not get my full order, Double Wow!!
Bottom line she is churlish and unbelievably rude to paying customers, her staff and family members. I (over) paid in advance and tried to make it work. Sorry that my schedule does not synch up to hers. I can only work on my garden in fits and spurts. Gardening is a hobby that should be fun. I cannot wait at Laurels leisure or be concerned with her business schedule protocol.
So I set out to find another source for heirloom tomato starts in the Los Angeles area. The LA County Arboretum Gift Shop (626-447-8751) has an heirloom tomato (4" starts $2.50 a piece) sale every March. I went April 4th and they still had a good selection. They have a wide variety of heirloom tomato plants, locally grown, with manager Mark Hall leading a knowledgeable staff. You can buy plants and organic fertilizer without going on the grounds so you don't have to pay to get in (unless you would like to donate).
I will be posting more information regarding Heirloom Tomato resources in the Southern California.
I'm sure that Laurel will try to rebut this comment.
So Laurel, please try to understand that everyone cannot be on your schedule, sorry. A customer paying almost 4 times the amount for a tomato start is plenty reason to be polite. When Mother Nature is ready for planting she is not concerned with your business schedule protocol. I will try to save the seeds this year in an effort NOT to do business with you and I am actively looking for other sources of heirloom tomato starts in Los Angeles. I will prove that you are not the only Tomato game in town.On April 11th, 2011, GenevaMorgan added the following:
Gentle Readers and Garden Folk,
It is unfortunate that Laurel the Rude Tomato Lady feels the need to lie.
I guess rude is what rude does. Notice that she did not rebut the issues. Just a weak red herring salvo... not even the truth.
In fact she did not ask me to leave. Her beleaguered helper gave me my plants sans the fertilizer that was ordered 4 months before. And I left on my own accord because my order had been (partially) filled.
Here are the facts: Laurel is unpleasant and overworked and this is why she has such slipshod service. But a new day is dawning, because now she is not the only game in town.
Laurel, website is lovely and your product is strong and healthy. As I said to you, I love your tomatoes.
The universe does not like ugly and the truth will set you free.
PS, as promised, here is another Los Angeles southland source of heirloom tomato starts:
Sunset Boulevard Nursery Inc
4368 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Neighborhood: Silver Lake
(323) 661-1642 http://www.sunsetblvdnursery.com
They have lots of 4" heirloom tomato starts, strong and healthy. Knowledgeable staff and a full service garden center. In the last few years Sunset Nursery have brought in more heirloom veggies including the tomatoes. Check them out! Company representative comment on April 11, 2011: On Apr 11, 2011 1:58 PM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
This encounter with Ms. Morgan was very bizarre and disturbing.
I am sorry to say we had to ask her to leave the premises.
the best tomatoes in the world, plants hardened off to withstand shipping, prompt service, great feed back, the plants i got this year are still blooming and setting fruit (mid september), I currently have over 45 pounds of tomatoes in the freezer and am picking over 2 pounds a day (all this from 4 plants in large containers). I have just ordered for next year and am astounded at the wonderful experience of speaking to Laurel on the phone and placing the order.
I'm very happy with my experience. Laurel was personable and happy to get my plants in the mail as soon as possible. I understand the vagaries of agriculture and small businesses, so getting everything so quickly was not only a delight, but absolutely praiseworthy.
Posted on June 10, 2010, updated June 10, 2010
Posted on June 8, 2010, updated June 10, 2010
I ordered (3) heirloom plants the middle of April. I told Laurel this was my first attempt and left it up to her to pick for me. I thought she told me they would be shipped out the first week in May, but when I called she told me I was wrong and they would be shipped out the last week in May. Now I have called several times and get a full message recording. I have emailed, and faxed and I have received no response what so ever. I dont care what kind of heirlooms I get....just please dont ignore me. Refund me, send me something...just answer me please. I am the person in San Diego....Robyn.On June 10th, 2010, dangerous1 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I changed because I feel awful. Laurel called me today hysterical she must be way overworked, and way understaffed. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and take her word that my plants went out today, and who knows maybe there will be a follow-up on how wonderful they are.On June 10th, 2010, dangerous1 added the following:
Ok...Laurel was not hysterical her feelings were hurt, my bad!! Company representative comment on June 10, 2010: On Jun 10, 2010 3:45 PM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
Sorry Robin, looks like a misunderstanding. By the time you ordered there was no shipping available untiil the end of May--early June. Your plants shipped today. The phones are busy, yes, and we get 300 emails a day. I do apologize; I am not ignoring you.
Posted on May 20, 2010, updated June 8, 2010
This was my 3rd year of ordering from laurel, and for the 3rd year in a row I did not receive my requested plants. I have always ordered months in advance and still there is always some excuse. She is a very sweet lady and her plants always arrive in excellent condition(including the substitutes) but I feel this needs to be said. If you are a gardener in a more northern climate and have to use a later shipping date you will not receive the plants you order, if that is important to you, you may want to look elsewhere. I'm sorry laurel but 3 years in a row just can't be a coincidence. The choices you offer and the quality of your plants has kept me coming back, who knows maybe I'll see if the 4th time is the charm next year, but I just don't know:(On June 8th, 2010, jim_williams changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After searching the internet and talking to several people, I have come to the conclusion having too send alternate plants is common for every grower, and certainly not unique to laurel. What may be unique to laurel is her determination to make every customer happy. I believe there is no one better to order plants from. Sorry for letting my frustration get to me and spouting off earlier, it wasn't appropriate.Company representative comment on May 26, 2010: On May 26, 2010 10:38 AM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
Sorry Jim, it was a rough year and yes, sometimes we need to send alternates. I also agree with you-- getting alternate varieties 3 years in a row sucks. I'd be mad, too!
I'm not perfect and things can go drastically wrong in the agriculture business.
Thank you for noting the high quality of our plants :)
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS COMPANY! I have been ordering mail order plants for a long time and these are by far, the best in condition, packaging and speed at which I received them. I am so excited to get them growing and I will also revise my post as I do. I ordered my plants back in September while living in Upstate NY; Laurel personally answered the phone and took my order(a rarity these days :-), however a change in circumstance brought me back to PA. I contacted Laurel and she changed all of my shipping info ASAP and let me know that they will still be shipped on time. I am also happy with the substitutions she has provided and am not upset in the least bit; I believe she asked me in our very first conversation if I would allow her to personally pick plants if my originals were not available. Of course I said yes and am happy that she did. I still will try to get the varieties I missed this year for next growing season as I received a $10 gift certificate. Things do happen when your a gardener/farmer and I am well aware of these issues as I have been personally growing for the last 15 years. My final thought is that I am extremely happy and I will recommend Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants to EVERYONE I know! Best of luck to you Laurel!!!!!!
Posted on February 7, 2010, updated May 16, 2010
Posted on January 30, 2010, updated February 7, 2010
I was excited to find Laurels' Heirloom Tomatoes and really wanted to like the company. Whie the order experience was less user friendly than many companies (you can't just point and click), the selection was great and Laurel confirmed the plants I ordered should grow well in Atlanta. I received the plants ordered and the Paul Robeson looked cold damaged upon arrival. I planted the four plants and only one seemed okay. I would have written it off to our weather last year, except the dozen or so tomato plants ordered from other mail order sources were fine. I emailed Laurel and told her that 3 of the 4 plants were not thriving and received no response at all. I was disappointed that the company ignored me, but more so that they did not stand behind their plants.On February 7th, 2010, frweaver changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After Laurel responded to my post, she took the effort to find me in her files and call me. I fully understand that emails can go awry, and I really appreciate Laurel's call and offer to make things right. Based on her proactive and friendly response, I plan to try her company again this year for some of my plants. On May 16th, 2010, frweaver added the following:
I ordered plants this year that arrived as scheduled and in great condition. They are easily the healthiest tomato plants in my garden so far this year. Thanks, Laurel!Company representative comment on February 5, 2010: On Feb 5, 2010 11:42 AM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
I'm so sorry you felt ignored by the company because I AM the company.
If I knew your name I could call you and look up your order or search for your email. I have other customers right there in Mableton GA who have had a wonderful crop from our plants.
As my longtime customers know, I never ignore emails and I absolutely stand behind my plants. If a plant ever arrives in poor condition or damaged, we immediately send a replacement at no cost or a refund. I conduct a small old-fashioned type of business, talk to every customer personally and our customer service is the best you'll find.
Perhaps the email was misdirected or I missed it somehow. We get a lot of emails and I am human. :)
But ignore it? Of course not -- I would never do that. I hope you will contact me again so I can make you happy. We've had such marvelous feedback from our customers and have already taken 1,000 orders so far for plants this season. 70% are from returning customers and we're just getting started !
So, whoever you are, please contact me! Give me a chance to make it right. We'll figure out what happened and I'll fix the problem. I can send free plants or refund, whichever makes you happy, but let's talk!
Owner, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants
In Southern California
310 534 8611
In March I ordered thirty plants and was given a 15 day shipping window starting on April 17th. Being local, I wanted to pick up my plants. After calling and calling, I finally got through and Laurel told me that I could come and get them in a week. She also told me that they'd had trouble in the nursery and half of my plants weren't ready, but should be in another week. I decided not to wait and to go and get half the order, planning to return to get the rest a week later. She explained that she was doing the best she could but that I might have to take some substitutions.
I went to pick them up and a very personable woman confirmed that I should come back in a week for the rest.
It is now mid May, and I have been told that the rest of my order can't be filled because I placed my order too late. I can have substitutes for my original order.
So, my final review is mixed. the plants I was able to get are gorgeous and healthy. I am very happy with them.
But I now have to scramble 6 weeks after placing my order to get tomatoes elsewhere.I wish there had been better communication earlier, so I could have made arrangements to accommodate the change.
I think that Laurel really knows her stuff, grows exceptional plants, is very nice, but maybe needs to get some more office help.
Probably would have been a better experience if I had ordered fewer plants.
I will probably suffer through the pain of Tomatomania next year.
Hence the neutral review, but must say that her plants if you get them are beautiful and the transactions very pleasant. Just order super early and call a lot during office hours. If the voicemail is full, keep trying!!!!!
Again, nice lady.
vossner Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) (107 reviews) April 23, 2010
Laurel has that wonderful ability to treat each customer like he/she is the most important person in the whole universe. I like that! The plant she sent me was perfect and the conversations before and after the order were most informative and pleasant. Buy from Laurel w/ confidence.
Last year, I spent countless happy hours salivating over Laurel's Tomato pages. Her descriptions are personal, wonderful and Oh happy days!, she has little symbols showing which ones do well in heat and/or cooler weather.
So this year, I ordered 4 tomato plants (plus 2 of the 25 gal smart pots) from Laurel. Laurel was delightful, taking my order. And even though I placed my order a bit later than I should have, she went out of her way to see that I got it, in time for planting. The plants arrived, beautifully packed and in excellent condition. They were a bit bent over, from their journey in darkness. But they are totally fine and happy, after a few days in the sun.
I was mistakenly sent 2 of the same tomato. I called Laurel, who was once again, incredibly charming, As we spoke, she located my little lost "Super Sioux" (so good in the heat) and is sending it out to me.
I could not be happier with my entire experience!
cooks2go Mableton, GA (1 review) February 16, 2010
This was my first order with Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes and it was a wonderful experience. Laurel helped choose the tomato plants for my containers, I chose a shipping date and all arrived just as promised. The tomatoes came expertly packed along with the grow pots and nutrients. The plants produced hundreds of delicious heirloom tomatoes and my neighbors are still thanking me. Any questions I had were quickly answered and professionally. I'm looking forward to working with Laurel again this year.
Sirpops San Clemente, CA (1 review) September 9, 2009
Received 8 plants for winter planting all in great shape. Got great information from Laurel when ordering and included in packing. Look forward to real tomatoes this winter and an early start in the "spring", whenever that is in So. Cal.
2009 was the second year ordering from laurel, both experiences were great. All of the plants I have received from her have been in perfect condition and the growing advice on her site has served me very well. Being able to talk directly with Laurel on the phone when ordering makes the experience even better as she has been completely patient with my many questions and her enthusiasm fueled my excitement for the coming tomato season. I was even surprised to find a free-be plant with my order this year (there always seems to be room for one more).
My favorites this year so far are: in first place the incredible Black Sea Man tomato plant which is the most impressive black tomato I have yet to taste. Compared to a store bought Heirloom black tomato placed next to it there was no contest, the BSM was visually striking with its deep chocolaty-red color and full, almost iridescently green seed pockets. The texture is firm but creamy with a full throttle tomato flavor and delicious citrus acidity. I haven't gotten ripe tomatoes off of all the plants yet (we had a very muggy, cool spring) but I'm pretty sure there will be multiple of this plant in next years garden.
Second at this stage in the season would be the green sausage tomato plant. I was worried for a bit as the plant stayed very short compared to the others; however, now the plant is very bushy and has easily 30+ tomatoes on it. They are just starting to ripen, but if they are really tasty I already know where I'm going to grow multiple GS plants next year. I'm looking forward to stuffing these with Dungeness crab meat and garlicky bread crumbs or mornay sauce and roasting till shriveled and brown on top.
Thank you Laurel for operating such a wonderful small business; our country needs more entrepreneurs who are willing to work hard to keep their customers' well being held up so high on their list of priorities like you do, I look forward to the many hours I will spend scrolling through your web site deciding which plants to add to my garden next year, and the next, ...and next, .........
I picked Laura's Heirlooms to order from because of the great descriptions of the tomatoes. This helped me find good tomatoes for the humid and hot Gulf Coast. My selection was all sent and received in great condition. The packing was wonderful. My order of Smart pots were not included but Laura saw to that over site and I had them within the week. (amazing product) And the selection has performed amazingly consider we first had very cool weather, two days of down pours totally over 16 inches and then abnormal extremely hot (100s) and dry weather that has gone on for over 6 weeks. I contribute this great performance to the initial health of the plants. I will order from them again next year.
As a 71 year old novice gardener, who wanted to relive the wonderful experience of his youth - eating a Beefsteak tomato, that had real flavor, etc., etc. I finally, after probing the internet thoroughly, decided to buy my tomato plants from Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants. What a wonderful website. Everything was clear, concise, with many photos and gobs of information I needed badly.
I called, spoke to Laurel at great length and placed my order.
My order arrived today, on time, and everything was just as advertised. I was truly taken aback with the thought, care and engineering that went into packaging my plants so that they would arrive in perfect condition.
My experience with this firm has resulted in my placing multiple orders from them and I have already recommended them to friends and family.On May 3rd, 2009, williamrhart126 added the following:
Received my second order with Laurel's ,and again the plants were in perfect condition, safely esconced in their little cocoon of packaging as designed by Laurel. Shipment was exactly on time and as promised. Would recommend this vendor to anyone.
txgal2 Lake Jackson, TX (6 reviews) April 14, 2009
First time to order. Received my six plants during the time promised. Only had one substitution which I think will be ok. Planted them yesterday and they seem very happy tonight in their new home. The timing ended up being perfect since we have had cooler weather for awhile. I ordered gold dust, goose creek, lollipop, paul robeson, persimmon but got Gary Ibsen Gold and Sophie's choice. I planted Sophie's choice and paul robeson in smartpots. First time to use these. I think they are going to work out great.
seawaters Albuquerque, NM (1 review) April 4, 2009
This is the second time I have ordered from Laurel's. I have been very pleased with the quality of both the plants and the service. I fully expect to continue ordering from this merchant.
I particularly like the fact that Laurel has been willing to ship plants to me a full month ahead of our average last frost when other growers will not do so. This allows me to get a headstart on our short season since I use ample frost protection.
I have purchased tomatoes from Laurel for the past few years. I am a rather new gardener so was looking for quality plants that would be forgiving of my inexperience. The first year tomatoes produced beyond my wildest expectations. The next year the production was beyond my neighbors wildest expectations. The following year neighbors were stopping buy to check the ripening progress.
I have been delighted with the personal interaction, business practices and quality of tomatoes. I am anxiously waiting for this year's shippment. I know that once again the value, service and product will exceed expectations.
If you are looking for heirlooms this is the place to find the best!On May 6th, 2009, CherylOregon added the following:
It is now May 2009 and I once again received a lovely shipment of perfect tomatoes. I unpacked them, yesterday and was again amazed by the careful packing and success of shipping. My tomatoes are waking up after being placed in the sunshine.
Each tomato start has a nice fat healthy stem that bodes well for my tomato season.
I received a phone call prior to my shipment letting me know that one variety I ordered was not successful sprouting this year. I was offered my choice of substitutes. I was even surprised by an extra free tomato. What a wonderful company to do business with. Like their tomatoes they are real and refreshing. With this company the great experience starts when you order and continues throughout the tomato season. WOW!!
Wish I could give Laurel a thousand positive votes! I have been a customer for several years and continue to be blown away by what this wonderful company provides.
*A second-to-none website with detailed info about (currently) 160 tomato varieties. Way more info than any seed catalog, and also, sorted by colors, size, and other info if you need to narrow it down a bit. I spend lots and lots of time in the late fall/winter here, dreaming about the coming summer and creating and recreating lists of the plants I want.
*Genuine, old fashioned customer support. Laurel answers the phone and really talks to you about what you are looking for, your concerns, and has guided me through that tough "do I choose this one or that one" for the last spot in my garden. She also is available for consultation for a fee, which I have never needed too much of her time, but if I did, the fee would be more than worth it for her expertise!
*She grows her plants without any pesticides, chemicals, and encourages her customers to garden organically as well. She carries products that really help you feed your soil, so the soil feeds the plants. It is very hard to find sustainably grown tomato plants in more than just a few varieties (I love Brandywine as much as the next farmers market shopper, but try finding all these different tomato plants grown organically anywhere near you! I certainly can't, and I live in California!!)
*The packaging and shipping continues to blow me away. These plants arrive in layers of protection (almost all of it compostable/recycleable cardboard- yeah!) and are in perfect condition---- every single time. You can feel the love that goes into that shipping box, I swear!
*The enclosed instructions are like gold. I have them stashed in my garden journal for future use. She really wants you to be successful at this, and gives you all the info you need... and more.
*I have had amazing results and been able to have wonderful tomatoes that look and taste like I had only hoped. The neighbors are amazed and grateful for the extras, the kids are covered in tomato juice and smiles from eating fresh warm fruit just off the vine, and I am happy that I am teaching them what real food tastes like.
I truly believe that "each dollar is a vote", and I am happy to support buisnesses such as Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes. I feel that the price I pay for them is more than worth it. I will happily reserve my tomato order for many more years to come.
WHAT A FANTASTIC FIND!!! I Discovered This Great, Informative Web Site While Searching for the Hard to Find "RAMAPO" (Jersey Tomato) Plants. Not Only Did I Find Them, but Also MANY Other Interesting Varieties of Tomatoes, Peppers & Basil Plants I Never Knew Existed! I was Very Impressed by Laurel's Knowledge, Willingness to Answer My Questions & Provide Helpful Advice. I was Surprised When She Answered the Phone Personally and Called Me Back Within Minutes When I Needed to Revise My Order a Few Days Later. I Am so Excited to have Found this Grower and to be Able to Plant & Grow Some of the Extraordinary Varieties She Offers!!!
ckemp52 Johnston City, IL (1 review) January 24, 2009
I have been buying from Laurel for over 5 years now. I show at the State and local fairs since getting my plants from her all my tomato's have been 1st place and Best of show and largest tomato, thats no lie.
This has got to be the finest tomato company on the planet. She has the best plants and packaging. She always send out the best plants, not them little scruwny ones you get from other companys. Laurel is got to be the most helpful owner, she always has time for me and all my questions either on the phone or by e-mails. I have placed my order for 2009 and will looking forward to getting my babies. Laurel has study all areas of the county and knows when is the best time to send your plants out which insure good healthy plants on arrival if there should be a problem she will take care of it personally Also if you would like them early to put in you greenhouse she will do that. She cares for each and every customer and she makes sure you get the best, and nothing less. I can not understand how someone after 3 years is now complain about the service she says she got from Laurel after 3 years I am wondering if she even has the right supplier. I would highly recommend that you give her a try I know you won't be disappointed. If she dosen't have what your looking for she will have the next best plant or one better.
Laurel's site came up today when I did a google search. I see that she still refers to early ordering to reserve shipping window and varieties. My experience leads me to believe that my early order was meaningless in reserving my varieties. About three years ago I ordered between Christmas and New Years for a late, Northern Minnesota shipping date.
I got a call after Memorial Day from Laurel encouraging me to cancel my order. She mentioned heavy losses from a real bad spring and rang off some of the varieties I ordered that she didn't have. I asked about the two types that were the primary reason I let her charge my card for upward of $200 five months previously. She said that she had plenty of those types. I said to go ahead and ship those. I then agreed, on her request, to let her fill in whatever else she had to make volume. There was then this long silence followed by an evasive, "it will take three weeks to get them packed, you won't want them that late". I told her that I had a small greenhouse and could bring the pollinated plants in to finish ripening. The conversation cordially ended and I waited for weeks with no further communication. I never got a shipment, but finally a check at the end of July.
The spring in SoCal was bad that year but this did not provide adequate alibi for why a very early order for her final shipping window couldn't be met when she said she had the plants. Early shipping date plants may have been lost, but my late shipping date plants should have been started late enough to escape the weather. Did those who ordered later with an earlier shipping date end up with my plants? Did she have customers whose importance preceded my early, paid for reservation?
I requested in e-mails for her into reserve plants for me on subsequent years without charging my card until shipment. This seemed fair since she sat on money for 7 months and never shipped varieties she admitted to having in stock. I was refused this request. Laurel seems like a very nice person who gets overextended and doesn't handle the situations forthrightly. Company representative comment on January 17, 2009: On Jan 16, 2009 6:25 PM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants added:
Yes, 2006 was a tough year.
It was not a weather problem. We lost some plants to some weird bacterial disease we had never seen before or since, and I could not send plants to some of our customers that season.
I called each one personally and offered a full refund or lots of free plants the following year. All refunds were made timely, as promised, and many customers were thrilled in 2007 to get 12 plants instead of the 6 they had paid for in 2006. (Of course, we hold all prepaid monies from our customers in a trust account.)
I would never promise plants knowing they may not have produced fruit in a small hobby greenhouse after being completely hardened off here in California, so I expect I told this customer a refund would be the best way to go. Never a 'long silence' or 'evasive'. Not my way.
We would not have refused to take an order without pre-payment. Some folks may not want to pay in advance and that's okay and understandable. It only means we may not have the exact plants they want at shipping time.
Looks like we didn't make this customer happy 3 years ago
It really is difficult to glean the facts when we do not know who they are, making it impossible to find any information.
We have moved on since that difficult year and have thousands of very happy customers. This customer has not ordered since 2006. We sent a full and timely refund as promised so it's challenging to understand why he or she is still upset 3 years later.
I cannot imagine staying mad all this time after a full timely refund and heartfelt apology. I remember those calls I had to make. It was very difficult for everyone.
Every customer is important to me! Life is short, we must try to enjoy it!
Happy Gardening in 2009,
Owner, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants
Los Angeles, California
310 534 8611
I had a wonderful experience with Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes! I called expecting to get a recording and Laurel answered herself!!! She was very friendly and helpful! When I got my plants they were in great condition and once in the garden, they flourished! Got lots of wonderful colorful heirloom tomatoes and impressed my friends and neighbors with green and purple salsa! Can't wait to buy more!
I wanted to let you know that I received my 10 fabulous tomato plants just as promised. I unexpectedly had to go out of town, but left my husband in charge of tending to the "babies" until I got home under threat of wife thrashing.
I decided this year to plant in containers (containers and raised beds are much easier in south Florida with regard to insects) and have just finished. I swear the babies I put in yesterday have grown overnight!
I am extremely pleased with my first order from you. I will let you know about production as soon as they start to do so and expect a phone call from me in the next week or 2 to place my order for spring.
Warthogg Oklahoma City, OK (2 reviews) August 20, 2008
Bought about 40 (the majority) of my plants this year from Laurel and have had - BY FAR - my best tomato crop !!
Aunt Ruby's German Green
All produced fine tomatoes but the three above were really stand outs.
WartOn May 11th, 2009, Warthogg changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
Laurel has really good plants.
Laurel packs her good plants really well.
So what's the problem ?? Dealing with an insulting and rude Laurel and never knowing what plants you may receive.Company representative comment on February 5, 2010: On Feb 5, 2010 11:47 AM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
This situation got weird, uncomfortable -- It was best that I not continue serving this customer.
Moonglow Corte Madera, CA (21 reviews) August 17, 2008
I am so impressed with Laurel's personal touch to customer service. I emailed a couple of times, she answered promptly both times. Ordering was simple. First it started with a "good feeling." So good, I had to replicate my order for my Mom.
My mom's tomatoes arrived first (SoCal) and I asked how it looked, the packing, etc. First of all, it's right on schedule, if not earlier. The plants were impeccably packed. Best of all, the plants LOOKED GREAT!
I received mine yesterday (NorCal), and I could attest to the same things. Two of the plants have flowers!
Now it's all up to me to grow those babies!On August 27th, 2008, Moonglow added the following:
Laurel reaffirmed that she conducts good business. With an email and phone call, she gave me an update on the plant that was initially too small to ship.
One of the tomatoes has a visible fruit already. I will definitely order more next year.
On September 24th, 2008, Moonglow added the following:
Laurel took the time to answer all my questions as soon as she got back from vacation. Had I called or checked their website, I would have known that she was away.
This is a big lesson for me to try the telephone sometimes, and I did today, and it made a world of difference. Indeed, it is a wake-up call that emails do fail, and the written word cannot replace the spoken word.
I felt terrible that my question read as a disparaging remark when it was not meant to be - - - for that I really am sorry. I take no pride in hurting someone, individual or group.
Laurel and I cleared up the misunderstanding, and I could not be not be happier. I am very appreciative of the plants coming my way, but even more so, the effort she has taken to call and write.
Company representative comment on September 22, 2008: On Sep 22, 2008 4:44 PM, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants added:
Hi A. I. ,
Yes, I am okay and yes, TomatoFest is over. Thank you for your concern.
It occurs to me that you must not have seen the anouncement at our website that we were on our usual 2 week vacation during the week before and after Tomatofest. It was also announced on our telephone message machine while we were out of town that the office was closed until today, Sept 22nd. I thought we had notified you about the loss of the Green Zebra plants but I can see you did not know they wouldn't be available and that we were offering a refund or another plant of your choice along with one for your mom. Somehow that email did not reach you. Email can be so unreliable; I wish you had tel;ephoned the office so we could have avoided this mix-up.
When I got back this morning and saw your email from the 7th, I emailed you right away to explain the situation, then saw your new post at Dave's Garden on our other email address. I'm sure we can work it out in a way which will make you happy. I have also left you a telephone message. Talk soon!
I am truly impressed! I'm retired at age 84 after owning my own business for over 40 years. I know what problems are when you build a better mousetrap and the world rushes to your door. More phone orders, more shipping, more work, more worker bees, vacations, etc. I do recognize a professional when I see one and she is one. I have just erased all of the other web addresses for tomato plants and/or seeds. These plants arrived this afternoon in Las Vegas, NV in perfect condition. I don't even have to rush to put them into the ground. If you think you have problems growing tomatoes in the north, east, south or even in California...just try Las Vegas! Temp today is 112 dgs! I haven't seen the end product yet but I'll bet these plants will produce just like she said they would. I trust her. Thank you Laurel....I'll be back, believe me.
This is my first year ordering from Laurel and I couldn't be happier. I ordered 6 plants and only 1 wasn't available, but I received a wonderful replacement. All of the tomotoes are growing very well and I can't wait to eat them. I was very impressed by the packaging of the plants so that they arrived without any damage. The plants also arrived with very detailed documentation on how to plant and care for them. I will definitely purchase from here again.