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95 positives
3 neutrals
6 negatives


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Positive stevejer
(4 reviews)
On Feb 19, 2008, stevejer Underwood, IA wrote:

My second year ordering from Tomatofest. Seeds arrived promptly, the variety is amazing and Gary's enthusiasm is contagious. I would recommend this company to any tomato lover.

Positive jimh6278
(4 reviews)
On Feb 19, 2008, jimh6278 Salt Lake City, UT wrote:

First time user with good success. I like the fact they accept Paypal. It makes my ordering easy. My internet order was shipped promptly. I use a Park seed starting cube with sponges and a heat pad under lights and had 11 of 12 seeds sprout within 5 days. 4 varieties. Same germination rate I got from Johnny’s.

I will update this fall when I know whether the seeds are true to standard.

On November 24th, 2008, jimh6278 added the following:

The season has ended and I wanted to update the rating. The seeds i purchased grew tomatoes true to the description, a problem I have had with other suppliers. I strongly recommend this supplier for those who value good tomatoes. I would also like to recommend the book, The Great Tomato Book, sold through this site. I has information even for the experienced tomato grower.
Positive seedgeek
(4 reviews)
On Feb 17, 2008, seedgeek Jonesboro, AR wrote:

My order for seven packets of tomato seed was made online with ease. I promptly received an email confirmation of the order, listing the varieties ordered. The order was sent promptly, and the varieties sent were correct.
When I received the order, I had a question about one of the packets, emailed the company, and received a prompt reply.
As this is my first time to order from this company, I cannot comment on quality of seed. I will post again later in the year when I see how well the seeds grow.

On July 4th, 2008, seedgeek added the following:

As promised, will now report on germination of the seeds purchased this year. Due to storms destroying the first set of seedlings, we have had to start seedlings twice this year, and both times the seeds have shown near-100% germination. The seedlings are healthy and growing well. We are pleased with the product and will order again in the future!
Positive taynors
(4 reviews)
On Jan 17, 2008, taynors none of ur business, OK (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love this site.
I did have trouble ordering online, it wouldn't take my credit card. I emailed Gary and got a answer the same day. He told me he would fix the problem.
I was contacted in two days over the phone and they took my order over the phone . Turns out i put visa instead of master card. That was the mix up on my part. woops My Bad.
They were very helpful and very efficient. I am very impressed at their customer service.
I will do another order again with them

Neutral BDale60
(5 reviews)
On Jun 16, 2007, BDale60 Warren, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Last season (2006) I ordered several tomato packets from this company for the first time. Germination rates were terrible. The main reasons I am not posting a "Negative" rating is because I made no effort to seek redress from the company so I cannot say what efforts would have been made to satisfy my complaint. Like many gardeners, I order seed from multiple companies and try a new company now and then just to see what happens. Fortunately, I had good results from my old reliable seed sources in 2006 so I just chalked it up to bad luck. Also like many gardeners I tend to blame myself or fate when things don't work out, but having grown tomatoes from seed successfully for more than ten years I have to wonder why the seed from a particular company doesn't germinate when the same conditions produce positive results with seed from other sources. I'll just say "Buyer Beware" with this particular company and let others judge for themselves.

On Jun 16, 2007, responded with:


On Jun 16, 2007 12:12 PM, added:

If this customer had notified me of any difficulty I would have immediately resolved the problem. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing what variety proved to be the problem. Without customer communication there is no way to track the source of the problem. By not contacting me the source of difficulty remains unknown.

Each pack is stamped with a LOT# for me to track if a problem does occur with a customer, so I may compare these results with my recent germ tests. When I discover that a germination problem occurs with a variety or Lot# then I remove it from stock until new testing or a new seed harvest is completed.

I am currently growing and monitering the quality of 550 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Although I regrow my stock each year, some varieties occasionally show a viability drop off sooner than others.

Customer feed back is essential for correcting up any difficulty that is discovered. This has also proven useful to me and the customer when I've found on occassion that the seed packs were from prior years or stored in less than ideal conditions. In any case, I make good my "guarantee"...always have.

It would be far more useful for this customer, and Garden Watchdog viewers, for this person to contact me regarding the difficulty so that it could be identified and resolved quickly, if the problem is with Tomatofest. "

Positive ktkawaguchi
(2 reviews)
On Apr 20, 2007, ktkawaguchi Woodland, CA wrote:

I ordered 9 varieties from tomatofest. Of those 9, 1 was incorrect (Wisconsin 55 vs Wins All) and what I figured was an honest mistake since they are so close alphabetically. The intial order arrived very quickly.

I had email exchanges with Gary Ibsen personally who takes customer service very seriously. In the end, he made it right and I am quite satisfied. From the time he personally handled the situation, I had the replacements within 1 or 2 days.

In the case of an honest mistake, I think the judgement should fall on the end result rather than the mistake.

I like the selection of interesting and some hard to find varieties and look forward to further tomato tasting adventures next year too. I will be a repeat customer.

Positive Pegasus4u
(1 review)
On Feb 25, 2007, Pegasus4u Rock Hill, SC wrote:

I placed an order with Tomatofest,the order never arrived. I sent them a simple e-mail inquiring of my seed. I was contacted within 24hrs. Gary made sure I hadn't thrown the package away by mistake. He promptly sent me another duplicate replacement. They tracked the order and even called to make sure I hadn't received the first missing package. I wished everyone was so concientious about customer service.

Positive elkwc36
(24 reviews)
On Nov 29, 2006, elkwc36 Elkhart, KS wrote:

I emailed for Gary's opinion on tomato varieties and he answered in a few hours. I ordered last Friday and the seeds were here in KS. in Monday's mail. Will update after planting about germination. The service has been second to none so far.

On January 27th, 2007, elkwc36 added the following:

Placed another order with them this week. Was here in three days. Can't believe the quick service. Most packs have extra seeds. Very satisfied so far. Jay
On June 17th, 2007, elkwc36 added the following:

I had from 90 to 100% germination on all varieties I purchased and sowed from Tomatofest. I had seed from about 5 vendors that all germinated in this range and then the rest fell off some. All have grown true to leaf form also. I will do business again. And Gary has the best communication of over 14 vendors I've done business with and extremely honest and fair. None better.
Positive chickiebob
(1 review)
On Jul 10, 2006, chickiebob Tampa, FL wrote:

Ordered 10 varieties of heirloom tomato seeds. All germinated well except Hawaiian Currant, which was promptly replaced by Gary at no charge (different lot #) . Second batch germinated and we love them . They are our favorite tomato-- Tiny but very tasty. Everyone should have these in a pot or garden.

Negative araness
(3 reviews)
On Jun 23, 2006, araness Auburn, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Planted 3 different variety of tomato seeds and had 50% or less germination from all three. Other seeds purchased from another company planted at the same time have 99% germination.

Positive slushymushpuppy
(2 reviews)
On Mar 22, 2006, slushymushpuppy Huntington, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

I recieved the seeds in just a few days and all seem to germinating quite well.

Positive toni5735
(1 review)
On Jan 28, 2006, toni5735 Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Wow, excellent and fast service. I ordered seeds on 1/26/06 via TomatoFest's website and received my seeds two days later on 1/28/06! Got all 5 of my selections and a freebie too. The seed count looks great also with at least 40 seeds to a pack.

I will definitely order from TomatoFest again and would recommend it to anyone looking for heirloom seeds.

Positive komposter
(1 review)
On Jan 27, 2006, komposter Spokane, WA wrote:

Several years ago, I became tired of the same old tough supermarket tomatoes, and so, I tried to grow tomatoes in my own home garden. I had mixed results, but the main disappointment was that the tomatoes I harvested, were simply more plain old red tomatoes. Better, fresh, yes, but I wondered where I could get seeds for some of the exotic 'foreign' tomatoes I ate during my travels in South America.

Imagine my delight, to find the website, with so many exotic varieties of heirloom tomatoes! I was determined to succeed in growing these, so I ordered some interesting seeds and also, Mr Ibsen's excellent book.

I love those exotic tomatoes! My family and friends
are asking me if I am going to be growing a garden
again this year, because they can't wait for more of
those colorful exotics. Who would have guessed that
tomatoes could taste so different?

My orders have continued, every year, and I am getting ready to plan my garden for this spring. I have seen some new varieties on the website, and my plan is to make the red tomatoes the minority this year, and grow more of the exotic and colorful varieties that I have 'grown to love'.

I admit I have a fondness for Mr Ibsen and his carefully tended heirloom seed business. He has been very dependable, every order filled and shipped like clockwork. I have tried to make time attend the annual Tomatofest shindig, maybe I can make it this year. It is amazing how many, many pounds of incredible tomatoes can come from one seed, so tiny.

'It's all about the compost!'

Neutral cprice4265
(1 review)
On Jan 18, 2006, cprice4265 Arroyo Grande, CA wrote:

Buyer Beware! I just ordered over $300 worth of tomatoes. This company uses old stock and charges a high price. Some of my packs were dated back to 2003. Not one of the 75 packages I received was for 2006. I grow heirloom tomatoes for chef's and buy from several companies around the world and have never seen such poor communication and customer service. I asked for a receipt and was never sent one. I asked for bulk pricing information and was never responded to. Buyer, there are much better choices for your purchases, no matter how tempting the website looks.

On January 26th, 2006, cprice4265 added the following:

After reading my posting on Garden Watchdog, I was contacted by Mr. Ibsen of Tomatofest on 1/22. Mr. Ibsen offered the following response to my posting.

My post: This company uses old stock and charges a high price. Some of my packs were dated back to 2003. Not one of the 75 packages I received was for 2006.
Reply from Mr. Ibsen: The number on my seed packets is the paper stock number from the printing company. Per Mr. Ibsen, since harvest 2005, all seeds are packaged for 2006.

My intention was never to post inaccurate data against Tomatofest. Whenever I purchase a packet of seed, there is a date that tells me I am buying a current pack of seeds. Not one of my packets contains a “Date Packed” number. The only number combination that could be a date, is the number 12.2003 leading me to believe that I had received old seed stock. I suggested to Mr. Ibsen that his package be redesigned to show the consumer clearly, what date the package was packed. I had contacted Tomatofest via email asking for clarification about the dates before I posted to this site. When I did not receive a response from the company I posted to Garden Watchdog. Per Mr. Ibsen, he was unable to respond to my email question due to health issues and being on the east coast for a week.

Missing receipt/shipping list has been received

Bulk seed question has been answered

On July 9th, 2006, cprice4265 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

Neutral Suze_
(6 reviews)
On Dec 28, 2005, Suze_ (Zone 7b) wrote:

I really, really hesitated on whether or not to make the rating an actual negative, but decided to give the benefit of the doubt here, since I have only ordered once from the company:

Here are my comments--

(1) I don't care what time of year I order, attempting to sub 40% or more of my order without even attempting to contact me first to ask if that's okay is not acceptable. When placing the order, the telephone # and address is asked for (and I provided it). In my opinion, if you are going to sub that much of the order, why wouldn't you take the time to e-mail or call the person to see if that is acceptable?

(2) What I eventually received over three weeks later was not properly packed. Whoever packed it rubber banded multiple packs of seed together in a non padded, poorly packed envelope for much more than a thickness of 1/4 inch (doesn't tend to work well with machine sorting)/cancelling).

(3) Next step, I politely contacted the company. All I got when questioning the substitutions were excuses and justifications. I did want to say that they did eventually send me the seed that I orginally requested and paid for, after two requests that they actually send what I paid for.

(3a) After waiting more than a month after the first excuse and resending the request for what I originally ordered, I did receive another response asking that I remind them once again in a few weeks or so. This really was kind of irritating as my thoughts were that why the heck was anyone asking *me* to remind them yet again?
Why not take responsibility and write it down in their daytime planner, type in their schedule, etc.? In any case, they did send me the rest of the seed a couple of weeks later, but sure I won't be in any hurry to deal with them again.

(4) The marketing blurbs are just ridiculous and over the top to anyone with a lick of sense and some real knowledge of open pollinated tomatoes.

Positive buzzbuzz77
(3 reviews)
On May 1, 2005, buzzbuzz77 Urbana, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I ordered several (8, I think) varieties of heirloom tomato seeds and have had germination problems with only one variety. The other seven are growing - strong and healthy. Ordering online was easy, descriptions and pictures were fantastic, and I received my seeds promptly with a bonus package included. Will definately order from this company again. Now...what to do with all those tomatos this summer....?

Negative rosc2112
(3 reviews)
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.

Positive Phaethon
(2 reviews)
On Mar 5, 2005, Phaethon Athens,
Greece wrote:

I have ordered seeds four times from TomatoFest and my experience has always been great.

Huge selection, prompt delivery, always bonus seeds with a personal note from Gary.

Recently, one of my orders got probably stuck at customs (I live overseas). Once notified about the delay, TomatoFest immediately sent me a new order without any charge, although this was not their fault.

A public thank you to you guys!

Positive LooneyLinda
(36 reviews)
On Jan 28, 2005, LooneyLinda Mantua, UT (Zone 4b) wrote:

What a fantastic assortment of tomato seeds. I have never had so much fun looking at seeds and so much difficulty
deciding what to buy. I ordered the Marianna's Peace tomato that was advertised as being exclusive to Tomatofest. When I later found it on another site I emailed them to let them know. I received an immediate reply stating that they had just found that out, had reduced the price and would change their ad. When my seeds arrived I just had to see them and noticed that I had way less than 30+ seeds offered. I emailed again and received a quick reply that a new packet would be sent out immediately. Apparently when the tomato was exclusively theirs only 6 seeds were offered and I got one of those packets. The new packet arrived in less than a week with a hand-written apology. How much better can you get than that? This is a great company.

Positive sderemer
(7 reviews)
On Jan 6, 2005, sderemer Monticello, WI wrote:

An outstanding collection of heirloom tomato seeds with nice writeups about each. I ordered some 30 varieties last spring. One was missing and Gary personally responded to my email and sent not only the missing variety, but 3 others for me to experiment with. Germination rates were excellent and all were true to variety descriptions. Minimum order requirement, but this is not a big issue because tomato seeds can keep for years if stored properly.

Negative mes
(4 reviews)
On Jan 3, 2005, mes Lawrence, KS wrote:

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.

Positive dlmorrow
(6 reviews)
On Jan 27, 2004, dlmorrow Springfield, MA wrote:

I love this site! If you are a tomato love don't miss this site.

I ordered seeds from TomatoFest last spring. Very prompt service. Very good support! And some very good heirloom tomatos are offered including the Julia Child tomato -- excellent! I will definitely be ordering my tomato seeds from them again this year. Lots of other info on the site as well including local business in Carmel area and some good recipes.

The owner, Gary, when he has time, is happy to answer any email. Just don't write in late September when they are getting read for the TomatoFest in Carmel.

Incidently, some friends in LA drove up to the festival and had a wonderful time. Based on their comments, I'd recommend anyone in the area to make the road trip to the festival. Mark your calendars -- September 12, 2004. Lots to do and see including the "Miss Hot Tomato" contest.

Positive graffixalley
(3 reviews)
On Apr 21, 2003, graffixalley Laurelville, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

So far so good! This is my first time ordering from and out of the dozen varieties I ordered, all arrived with more than the 30 seeds promised. I now have about 400 plants out of the expected 360! Some are still sprouting after 3 weeks in the growing medium, so I don't know the germination rate exactly. Now, if I can find space to plant all of them...

Positive DrMikeG
(12 reviews)
On Mar 2, 2002, DrMikeG Indianola, IA wrote:

I ordered several packets of organic heirloom variety tomatos last month (2/2002). The seed packets arrived quickly and they threw in a bonus packet of seeds. The variety selection is vast and ordering is easy. I am very pleased with this company.

On March 29th, 2002, DrMikeG added the following:

My seeds from have a germination rate of approximately 95% (1 out of 20 cells). Excellent seed.
On June 9th, 2002, DrMikeG added the following:

I meant to say 1 of 20 failed to germinate. Anyhow, they are now vigorously growing and about 3 feet tall!

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