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 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.""
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.)"
On Apr 6, 2005, rosc2112 Pittston, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:
Ordered quite a few heirloom vars from this company last fall. Planted them going on 4 weeks ago now, and have only got 2 vars that sprouted at all, and a very poor germination ratio. So disappointed.. The seed trays were in a warm greenhouse with plenty of humidity, and other viable seeds have sprouted no problems.
I just tried to order seeds from Tomatofest, after poring over its website at great length. Looks so good; but only when I tried to order seeds was I informed that I must make a minimum order of $15 to buy items from this company. Nowhere on Tomatofest's homepage or in the instructions for using the online catalogue of seeds is this minimum purchase mentioned. I realize that websites and online use of credit cards cost money, and Tomatofest is within its rights to impose a minimum order so that it can turn a profit. But I think that the owner should be upfront about the minimum purchase requirement. I subsequently ordered less than $15 of organic, heirloom tomato seeds from another company that does not have a minimum purchase requirement.