Excellent - If you are looking for tomato seeds, I don't see how they could do any better. Besides hundreds or individual packs, he sells a variety of collections for specific climates and growing conditions.
I bought one of the collections, tropical for container gardening - this is my exact situation. All of the varieties were new to me except one that I purchased elsewhere. I asked for a substitution from the other hot/humid collection. Not only did Gary provide the substitution, he also included the original pack and an additional free pack.
Reasonable shipping cost and fast shipping too. Received order in < 1 week.
On Dec 22, 2013, JoefromOrleans Orleans, MA wrote:
You cannot find a website with a greater variety of heirloom tomato seeds. Over a 3 year run, I had about a 90% success rate from seed to successful transplant. You can spend hours lost among the tomato varieties, but can also just drop Gary an e-mail with your grouping conditions and he will make some recommendations.Spending time among the tomatoes is fun on cold New England nights. Like others, I always enjoy the bonus packet. I like surprises and the result is some very tasty tomatoes. The growing information on the website is great in terms of both content and presentation. I look forward to 2014's crop. By the way, I always distinguish between price and value. Tomatofest provides great values for the price. When 4 packets, plus the bonus can lead to 125 healthy tomato plants in the garden for around $20 for seeds, that is great value!! Yes, and service has always been first rate.
On Dec 15, 2013, Eric_OH Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
As a long-time home grower of tomatoes from seed (including many heirloom varieties) I was glad to find TomatoFest's website. However I can't do business with a company that promotes inaccurate and misleading health and scientific information in order to sell its products.
For instance, TomatoFest claims that the lycopene found in tomatoes is "nothing short of amazing, has proven to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, is a powerful inhibitor of breast and cervical cancer in women, reduces the risk of lung cancer"
The reality is that lycopene is not "proven" to lower risks of any cancer in humans (clinical trials have shown inconsistent results, and as a result the FDA does not allow companies to make claims of reduced cancer risk in selling lycopene supplements).
TomatoFest, like several other heirloom seed companies makes a big deal out of not selling GMO varieties. But I know of zero GMO tomatoes on the commercial market, much less any sold to home gardeners, so this is an empty marketing ploy (a separate issue is TomatoFest's claim of testing every variety it sells to ensure no genetic modification has taken place (with 600 varieties, one wonders how they afford to do such extensive genetic testing and stay in business).
Although maybe the expense of whatever testing they actually do explains why they require a $15 minimum order.
On Sep 24, 2013, Hisflyingtune Cheltenham, PA wrote:
Posted on November 23, 2012, updated September 24, 2013
I can say unequivocally the I would recommend Gary Ibsen's tomatofest.com w/o any reservations whatsoever. Gary took my info and recommended, for example, that I try Chocolate Stripes and Amish Paste. They were outstanding!
I found the true Porter's Pride tomato and when the temps here in suburban Philadelphia hovered around the 97 degree mark for nearly all of July, I got tomatoes!
His quality control is second to none. I have never received any corrupted seed as has happened with other companies.
If you're growing tomatoes, get your seed from Gary Ibsen and tomatofest.com. You will NOT be disappointed!
On September 24th, 2013, Hisflyingtune added the following:
Initially, I thought that Tomatofest seed prices were high. Now, I believe that that are "a steal." For 2013, germination rates were nearly 100% ! I planted 26 varieties of tomatoes and a total of 217 tomatoes. I sold ALL of my excess plants. Absolutely EVERYONE with whom I spoke said that their plants produced extraordinarily well. All of the seed was purchased from Tomatofest-Gary Ibsen/Dagma Lacey. If you consider that, here in suburban Philadelphia, organically grown heirloom tomatoes cost anywhere from $3.99/lb. to $6.99/lb., I could not do better in the stock market for ROE. The return on investment is anywhere from 300 to 1 up to 700 to 1. Again, ALL of the seed was true and there was NO corruption whatsoever. I am now the official "groupie" of Tomatofest. I'm not anywhere near to being finished harvesting this season's tomatoes and, already, I can't wait for next Spring. If only I could find other vegetable seeds of Tomatofest's quality!!!
On May 21, 2013, LikeOhPersicon Albuquerque, NM wrote:
Early this year (2013) I ordered seeds for several varieties of tomatoes from TomatoFest. I received them all very promptly, plus bonus seeds just for ordering! After I had sown all of them only one variety didn't germinate. I contacted Gary and asked if this variety (Lollipop) had a different germination time. He responded immediately and sent me another packet of Lollipop, PLUS more free bonus seeds. The 2nd batch did indeed germinate 100%. Now I've got Tomato City all over my property. I love the TomatoFest website and the service they provide. All the plants I ordered seeds for are growing well now and I look forward to future business with TomatoFest.
I an placed an order with Tomatofest.... naturally was like a kid in a candy store.. placed order.. then realized.. that did not order the centerpiece variety. I wanted.. contacted Gary.. he was so helpful. made my day and hopefully.. my tomato year.. In this world of computer generated service and corporate guidelines.. What a joy to get some good ole down home.. we really wanna help you service.. I sing his praises.. and am sure.. that his partner.. Dagma.. makes him that way..lol Thanks again.. was a pleasure to do business with you.. Dwheel Ky
On May 15, 2013, soldiersong North Plains, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:
I purchased seeds four years ago. My greenhouse collapsed in a record snowfall, so the seeds just stayed in the refrigerator in our basement, which is rarely used. I forgot they were there. This Christmas my wonderful husband bought me a new greenhouse. It did not get finished until April. I remembered the seeds and thought, what the heck, its so late now I can't start anything, so I might was well toss these seeds in soil and see what happens. I planted out the seedling today. Four years in the refrigerator, late start - many healthy plants. No, they did not all germinate, but I didn't expect any, and got at least 50% on both varieties. Impressive, I think!
This year I am trying to go completely sustainable and happened upon the Tomato-fest company. I have to say that their informational pages were great on the differences in starting seeds for heirloom varieties versus starting hybrids. I ended up ordering 9 packets of seeds and got the seeds in less than 4 days with an extra packet of seeds for trying them. I planted all the seed packets (25 to 30 seeds per packet on average). From the beginning I noticed that when the seeds came up they faded in the beginning but going back and looking on the website again I knew that the water needs for heirlooms was different than hybrids and was able to adjust accordingly. I had between 20 and 28 seedlings grow from each packet of seeds and survive their first transplanting into 6packs from the starter trays. The seedlings are thriving now in my greenhouse under full spectrum lights and are growing well. I am looking forward to getting the seedlings in the garden this year and seeing how they produce. Great company and a great product. I will definitely be ordering other varieties again.
On Mar 31, 2013, surburbfarmer Bellflower, CA wrote:
I ordered 8 varieties of old fashioned reds from Tomatofest, and had terrible germination rates. 3 varieties topped out at 50%, three had 20%, and the other 2 had 0% germination.
I emailed Tomatofest from their "contact us" link, and expected not to hear back for a long time. To my surprise, I got an email 3 hours later, stating that they would re-send my whole order no questions asked.
The second order came quickly, and the second batch of seeds germinated flawlessly. Gary suggested that the first batch may have been fowled during shipping or storage. I think he was right.
This is what customer service is all about! Now to see how the plants perform over the course of the season.
Bottom line, this is a top notch company that deserves your business.
On Feb 17, 2013, Wetauser Chonburi Thailand wrote:
When the first set of the tomato seeds had not been delivered by the Thai postal system after three weeks, they sent me a new batch without any hassle and refused any further payment when the two seed orders both turned up together.
Now after four days I am seeing the first seedlings germinate and looking forward to tasty tomatos from their Tropical hot and humid collection,
I have only great things to say about the customer service I have received from TomatoFest! My first order with them never made it, vanished into the US Postal System, but Gary at TomatoFest promptly and graciously re-sent my order without hesitation. I am very much looking forward to a bountiful crop and will order all my future tomato seed through them, just because they treated me so nicely!
On Feb 11, 2013, ganesha St. Catharines Canada wrote:
Totally positive. Terrific Website, tons of information, great germination rate and plants, good seed count and good prices. Fast service and we live in Canada (shipped our first large order in 2 packages to get it across the border more efficiently). Ordered from them again this year same great service. Have recommended them to friends. They are total pros!
On Jan 20, 2013, drthor Irving, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I ordered at least 10 different seeds varieties from this company.
The germination was so poor: only 25%.
I had about 90% germination success with seeds planted at the same time from other companies.
On Jan 20, 2013, TomatoFest.com responded with:
"On Jan 20, 2013 5:11 PM, TomatoFest.com responded with:
Such a poor germination rate for the whole of his 10 varieties would indicate that some damage occurred either in the delivery or storage of his seeds. We find no record of having any seed customer from Irving TX, where this gardener says he is from, in order to review these varieties. In that part of the country it's possible that seeds in storage could have been exposed to conditions that would have compromised the seed quality. Generally our customers would alert us personally if they had ANY difficulty with their seeds, since our seeds are guaranteed for quality. But we have not been notified. Had we been notified, we would have immediately sought to find the source of the problem and replaced his order in full, regardless of the reason for the germination problem. We've even replaced seed, when the "dog ate my seeds," or "my seeds were lost in the flood before I had the chance to plant them, or " the seeds I bought from you 6 years ago and stored in my garage didn't germinate.""
On Jan 12, 2013, mbowoade Lethbridge Canada wrote:
I ordered 5 exciting varieties of tomatoes from Tomatofest, they were shipped within a few days, and I received my seeds within a week. As I live in Canada, this is fantastic! And I got a free packet of seeds, amazing. I love the website, and the incredible variety of tomatoes available. The only downside is that I can't grow them all! If I have positive experiences with germination and growth, as I believe I will, I will definitely order from them again.
In 2012, I ordered a dozen freaky colored tomatoes from tomatofest, and several giant types. The germination was great, I was giving away seedlings to anyone whose car was unlocked. The plants produced early and well. This was a bad year in western Oregon, it rained and was cold until July, but 2 giant varieties produced several 24 to 30 oz tomatoes, the first time in 10 years at our elevation. Just big robust plants--good bloodlines. I hope for similar outcomes this year.
Their Henderson's Winsall seeds I bought this spring, was not the real Winsall. The plants from their seeds are tree like, with only 3-4 Mal-formed tomatoes per plant. I've raised winsall for years and those from tomato fest are not the real thing.
On Nov 26, 2012, TomatoFest.com responded with:
"On Nov 29, 2012 6:47 PM, TomatoFest.com responded with:
I'm puzzled by this posting. I tracked down this person's seed orders from us (1/2012 and 8/2011) and no Henderson's Winsall was ordered from us. (He did order the Winsall variety.) I've personally planted and harvested Henderson's Winsall for the past few years and found that the plants performed well in producing moderate to very good crops of fruit, that appeared to be true (and delicious). I've not seen similar plant/fruit qualities he has described. The seeds I harvested would have been the same seeds that would have been sent any of our customers this past spring. Upon seeing this complaint, I emailed jeffroky with this information and expressed my regret for his disappointment and reminded him that had he contacted me when he first thought our seeds were at fault, I would have responded to him immediately to respond to his concern. I also reminded him that I guarantee ALL of our seeds. If he was speaking of our Winsall seeds then I suspect that the seeds in his pack might have been damaged prior to planting (If he planted the Winsall he ordered 8/11, their vitality might have been compromised during storage before planting in spring of 2012. I sent jeffroky 2 packs of Henderson's Winsall with the expectation he will produce fruit to his satisfaction this year. I will also be tracking the performance of this variety in my 2013 planting. (Note: I do not question this person's expertise and appreciate that he has ordered many other varieties from us that appear to have been successful. BTW, I have had no complaints from any of the 912 customers who ordered Henderson's Winsall in the past 2 years.)"
I was very pleased with my Tomatofest.com experience. I had 95-100% germination rates and my tomato plants are 7-8 feet tall. I was very pleased with the selection of tomatoes and the shipping was very quick. There is a $15 minimum order, but if you are ordering a several varieties, it is worth it. I will be ordering from Tomatofest.com again.
On Sep 21, 2012, mesimarja minneapolis, mn United States wrote:
Excellent organic tomato seed source with equally great customer service. Tomato envy: there are so many offerings for tomatoes you have probably never heard of but wish you had the space to grow. Will go to them every time for quality seeds.
I ordered from TomatoFest for the first time in the fall of 2011. I was very pleased with the enormous selection of heirloom seeds, plus the ordering process was easy and delivery time was good. Give this company a try.
On Feb 27, 2012, Smallie Feeding Hills, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on February 27, 2012, updated February 27, 2012
Placed an order and it was delivered quickly and everything arrived as ordered! Great site to order from! A++++
On February 27th, 2012, Smallie added the following:
After sowing the seeds i recieved from TomatoFest and after germination, there was a noticeable difference in the germination rates compared to the seeds i had purchased elsewhere!Another bonus was the seedlings/plants were bigger,stronger,and out produced any seeds/plants i had purchased elsewhere too! You can tell when a company takes pride in their product and service,and TomatoFest far outshines the others,and they provide all the information you need as a novice to veteran Tomato Farmer too. Highly Recommend TomatoFest!!!!
Gary Ibsen's TomatoFest.com is surely a place worth considering when it comes to heirloom tomato seeds. My experience has been exceptional. Check it out for yourself!
Here is my response to him just recently:
I just want to say that the seeds you sent me last year, which was my FIRST EXPERIENCE with you and your tomato seeds.....WERE TOTALLY AWESOME! I really mean that!!! I live in Pennsylvania and you not only gave me sound advice and wisdom about the questions I asked you concerning the varieties I was requesting to grow and how would they do, etc., but I am so glad that California grown plants like it here in Pennsylvania just as much (at least I hope so:):):) SMILE!
My last comment would be that if possible, I wish I could show you a picture or two to validate just how nice these tomatoes proved to be. You will not be disappointed.
Gary has a guarantee that he also stands by. Happy Gardening.
On Dec 31, 2011, bbll65 cassinetta di lugagnano Italy wrote:
I growth tomatoes starting from seed for 15 years. I bought from TomatoFest first time this year 6 + 1 free varieties. I shall report that almost 100% of seeds germinated, plants growth healty and produced as per description (except for some large size, but probably it was due to my mistakes). I absolutely got the best result I had until now with tomato seeds! Finally TomatoFest is a serious company. TomatoFest offers in very professinal but friendly website a wide selection out of the few and often unqualified hybrid varieties we can found in the garden shops. TomatoFest is the heaven for tomatoes lovers! Thank you TomatoFest!!!
I ordered seeds in March and started them inside. Their seeds rapidly took off! Put the seedlings into my garden in April. I have never seen such prolific plants! My Tiny Tim is full of baby tomatoes and blooms. My Italian Tree (which I believe was a freebie) is incredible! Has grown to 5 ft. tall already and is HUGE and still growing! I have never seen anything like it! ! Full of blooms and tomatoes already. I am SO pleased with this company and will readily order seeds again.
On Apr 28, 2011, susybell Vancouver, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:
I ordered a number of packets from Tomatofest this year and started a bunch of seeds. I was very surprised to not get the greatest germination-all my other tomatoes did great. So, I wrote to ask if there had been a problem or if the varieties I started were known to be slow. To my surprise and delight I very quickly received a fast reply saying that there hadn't been any other reports but that just in case he was sending me new seeds. He sent packets of all three seeds I'd asked about--AND two extra varieties as a bonus!! Wow! Talk about customer service. I've since read that the black varieties can sometimes be harder to germinate than others. I also didn't choose priority shipping so the seeds were sent first class mail-and not in a bubble envelope-which could mean the seeds were damaged when cancelled-I won't do that again! In any case, I'm very pleased with the company-the seedlings are growing well and seem happy. Their selection is great and shipping was very fast both for the original order and my replacements.
On Mar 17, 2011, weasel71 Lombard, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered tomato seeds for the first time this year, seven different kinds (ambitious, I know). TomatoFest shipped the order promptly with an extra packet included. Also included were planting instructions. I planted the seeds this past Sunday (3-13) and hoped for the best...I'm a newbie to seeds. Last night (3-16) when I got home from work, I was ecstatic to see that "Black Cherry" and "Green Zebra" had sprouted. Then this morning, I see that "Taos" (the freebie), "Broad Ripple Yellow Currant" and "Sprite" were very busy overnight and had sprouted as well. Again, being new at this, I have to say that I feel very encouraged and confident after this experience. Thank you, Tomatofest! I will be ordering again next year. Keep up the great work!
I recently ordered seeds from TomatoFest (http://www.tomatofest.com/) for the first time. (Discovered the company while looking for hard-to-find seeds for the Orange Strawberry Tomato.) Waited about ten days but no seeds and the time to start them in my area is now, so on a Sunday morning I emailed the TomatoFest folks about the missing seeds. Within a few hours, I had a reply from Gary at TomatoFest. We determined that there had been a typo in the shipping address. And even though I offered to go knock on the door where the seeds might have been shipped, Gary sent me a new envelope of seeds on Monday. He couldn't have been nicer or more prompt in response to my query.
TomatoFest has a great selection of tomato seeds. Add this level of service, and I plan to buy from them again.
On Mar 7, 2011, kitlyn2001 Cape Girardeau, MO wrote:
This is the first time I have planted tomatoes from seed. I usually buy plants from local nurseries where I was introduced to a few heirloom varieties and loved them.
I found TomatoFest while searching for a variety that I had grown last year and was amazed at all of different tomatoes. While very excited at the prospect of 600 different kinds I was able to keep my order to a modest ten different ones.(My husband thinks I'm crazy - after all what's wrong with plain old red tomatoes.)
The seeds arrived promptly and I have had nearly one hundred percent germination in only five days ( I use a heat mat.) I can't wait until transplant time and of course the first harvest. I will save some seeds, but I will surely want to try more of their different seeds next year.
This is the fourth year that I've ordered seed from TOMATOFEST. Each year my order gets bigger and bigger as there are just so many Heirloom tomatoes to choose from. I sewed my first batch of seeds on Jan. 12th of this year and by Jan. 15th already had seedlings. Now it's just a 2 1/2" jungle in my potting trays. It looks as though the germination rate is 100%. Everything I planted last year was prolific beyond my dreams as I shared with friends, neighbors and family.
The Aussie and Thieneman's Austrailian Heart were two that got raves.
I have another order in now...I'll just have to enlarge my garden!!!! Gary and Dagmar are the greatest people to deal with as I feel as though I know them. I can tell they love what they do and get great pleasure from pleasing their customers. You certainly won't go wrong ordering from TOMATOFEST for all of your Heirloom varieties.
On Feb 11, 2011, veggiesrule Petrolia, Ont Canada wrote:
This was the most positive experience I have ever had with a mail order company!! I am an avid Canadian gardener and was treated with utmost professionalism and courtesy. No question was left unanswered. Everything was sent in a timely manner. I had one small mistake in an order and this was resolved within HOURS!!! I will recommend this site to all of my gardening friends in my horticultural society and to my community. Thank you Gary and Dagma for such wonderful service, promptness and generosity!
I have been ordering from Tomatofest.com for the past 5 years and have nothing but great things to say from start to finish.
First the website has great details on their tomato varieties and they categorize them in many different ways as to find the perfect ones for you. There is also cutting-edge growing information provided for you such as the "Earthtainer" as well as great links on tomato gardening resources. They really want you to be successful. Any questions I sent in have been answered promptly, with care, concern and accuracy. They really know their stuff.
Second - Super speedy delivery. My package literally arrived across country from CA to NY in 3 days - I was thrilled. Speedy delivery
Third -The germination rate is 95% + on every variety every year. I have always had enough to share and have now developed a following around the spring " Hey Joe, does your wife have any of those tomato plants like last year"
The plants grow hearty and vigorously and yield just as described in their website. One of my favorites the Blondkopfchen" as my brother put it so well "has freakishly amazing amounts of tomatoes" I have no ground space and am forced to grow in pots and every year I have an abundant crop and after implementing the resources of the "Earthtainer" provided on their website I have surpassed productions of past years.
I have no need to look any further. You will certainly enjoy doing business with tomatofest.com even just looking at the website is a thrill. No disappointments at all with this company
On Feb 4, 2011, chaileyfarm Purcellville, VA wrote:
This is the third year I am ordering from TomatoFest and can't imagine ordering from anyone else. The varieties are amazing and the germination rate excellent. If you don't know what to order (although the catalogue descriptions are good) talk to Gary. He is the tomato master.
Planning to sell tomato seedlings, I ordered bulk for five heirlooms
and for the first planting of 180 had 97% germination. :) The second
planting was disaster due to soil (?) from a box store and my over-eagerness to plant. My third planting will rival the first and I
am a very happy camper with Gary Ibsen and Tomatofest. They were
very generous on their seed count also. I will recommend and repeat