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Comments regarding Southmeadow Fruit Gardens (Grootendorst Nurseries)

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28 positives
6 neutrals
63 negatives


Positive VDJ
(1 review)
On May 29, 2015, VDJ Marshfield, MO wrote:

Given some of the history laid out here I was more than a little nervous ordering from this company. My challenge they offered the rare and more difficult to find varieties of Apple Trees I had been looking to add to my orchard.

I took the plunge and placed my order. The trees were a little slower in coming and I started to get nervous. I called and spoke to owner who was gracious and more than willing to talk with me and explained the process.

Another 2-weeks passed and again I called. The owner was gracious to a fault and true to his word my trees arrived a few days later.

They were everything I hoped they would be. There was however an issue...the order was 1-tree short. I called and explained. Again gracious to a fault they explained the tree I had wanted was sold out. I was then offered a tree more rare and one I had been coveting for several years. I jumped at it!

Given the history of this company I can appreciate and respect why people would have some trepidation in ordering with Southmeadow. Take my experience for what is was...positive. I respect the owner, believe he is a man of integrity, perhaps a little over-worked, but a man who wants to do right by his customers.

I pray yours is as positive an experience as mine has been and that you will know an abundance.

Positive JenYan
(1 review)
On May 19, 2015, JenYan West Bloomfield Township, MI wrote:

Posted on May 7, 2015, updated May 19, 2015
Posted on May 4, 2012, updated May 7, 2015
My first order with this nursery in 2010 was a simple apple tree. It was fulfilled without trouble, the owner helping me with my selection. He spent 20 minutes on the phone with me even though I was ordering a small tree.

Recently I received three large caliper apple trees in perfect condition, delivered as promised.

Was it a bit of a hassle to get them here? yes. But if I wanted a Red Delicious I\\\'d go get it at English Gardens.

Since then I have done much research, this nursery remains unique, in that they continue to have historical trees, with a huge range of selection, not available anywhere else.

It remains a SMALL nursery, using the internet as a way to communicate cold storage availability and inventories. It is not some big factory farm. I am more than willing to go out of my way for these kinds of trees and to support small farmers.

My condolences to anyone who experienced fraud. I understand the feelings that can be generated. But it appears that it\\\'s done, the criminal has been apprehended and convicted of a crime, and the nursery is back to business.

I have had an excellent experience with Peter G. and will continue building my historical garden with his trees.

On May 7th, 2015, JenYan added the following:

This Spring I purchased an additional Holstein tree, (3\" caliper) virtually impossible to find. Peter was organized, answered my phone calls and took the time to ensure that it was properly delivered. What a find!

I saw his whole shipping department, and cold storage which were immaculate and organized. (I even saw the check and order from the negative review and can verify there is no factual basis for the complaint, other than a misunderstanding of what time of year gooseberries should be ordered. She even got the year of the order incorrect.) Remember that this is a specialized nursery, run by a small family. There\'s no paypal, no fancy support team. What you get is properly labeled, properly grafted and raised heritage antique fruit trees. If they\'re not in stock, your order gets put on the next year\'s list of prioritized plants. It\'s a slow process. But worth the patience, just like gardening...

My new tree is beautiful, in a few years we\'ll be eating such treasure.
On May 19th, 2015, JenYan added the following:

I read with interest the updated post about the gooseberries. It's disappointing that the trash talk continues, along with the misdirection and miscommunication.

Every time I call SMF, I get Peter on the phone, he takes time to answer my silly questions ("what should I do about the frost tonight?) Peter calls me back. He returns every one of my emails. He goes out of his way to get my order complete, and there have been many years that he's said, "This order is made too late" Or "I don't have this stock any more." and my favorite "try again next year." It is a small grower, a national heritage spot, and to trash someone for something that is partly an error on your part, is short sighted. It's a relationship that we have with our growers, the good the bad and the ugly.

It makes me consider the times that I have misjudged or acted out of impatience.

It's one thing if a grower is sending misidentified product, or actual fraud, or dead plants. (one time I ordered black raspberries but got blackberries and those don't grow the same). But cranky grouchy comments about waiting too long seem out of place.

I'm patiently watching my new fruit trees growing. And all this talk about gooseberries is making me think about growing them! Aren't they really thorny? Hmmm.

Positive The_Berry_Guy
(1 review)
On Jul 30, 2013, The_Berry_Guy Harris Hill, NY wrote:

I am so very excited right now... I Just got off the Phone with Peter the owner of Southmeadow Fruit Gardens... It was such a pleasure to speak with the actual owner of a company for a change. I am an avid berry grower and would like to add some very hard to find Dessert Variety Gooseberries to my berry patch in the spring. Here is a list of Peters amazing collection of Gooseberries from his easy to use site.
Achilles.................................very large red
Captivator......................................pale red
Careless........................pale green with thin white stripes
Catherina.....................shiny golden orange
Clark..................................light copper red
Early Sulphur...................yellow with light yellow stripes
Hinnomaki Yellow.............greenish yellow
Lepaa Red.....................................large red
May Duke..........................bright red with pinkish stripes
Oregon Champion.................whitish green
Poorman.......................dark wine red with purple bloom
Sylvia........silvery green glowing light pink
Whinham's Industry............claret red with light red stripes
Whitesmith.................very pale green with wide white stripes
Many of these are european vArieties that are near impossible to find in the US!
I will be sending my check soon to lock in my spring order that is for sure!
I cant wait... And a big thanks to Peter for talking on the phone, giving me some great info on the status of next years plants and being very kind to another Gooseberry grower!
I would highly recommend calling Peter if you have any questions or concerns about placing an order... I cant wait till next spring!

Positive Kellet
(1 review)
On Nov 15, 2012, Kellet Vestavia Hills, AL wrote:

We moved in to a new home in February of 2012. I wanted to plant an apple tree for each of my daughters to celebrate the new house. I ordered 2 Hidden Rose apple trees. Everything worked flawlessly for us. They arrived in perfect condition at the appropriate time for planting. They survived the Alabama summer and we hope they will bear fruit in the next two years. Not a complaint in the world! We even created a Christmas Card for Peter with the girls in front of their tree so he can watch them grow!

Positive bufforpington
(1 review)
On May 8, 2012, bufforpington East Merrimack, NH wrote:

Let's go back many years to the time when I was young and the world was (to me) a much simpler place. One of my fondest memories was going apple picking with my grandfather in Western New York for 20 oz. apples.

Now that I have a property large enough to grow apple trees and just about everything I can get my hands on I started looking for the apple of my childhood. All inquiries about this particular apple were met with looks of disbelief or just plain smiles. No one believed that they existed. I was beginning to wonder I maybe I misunderstood what Grandpa was telling me.

Two months ago I attended a fruit tree pruning seminar and I asked the instructor is he had ever heard of 20oz apples. He said he had....that they were an older apple and 'weren't good for much' but I disagree and asked him if he knew where I could get trees. He said I could get just about anything I wanted at South Meadow Fruit Gardens in Michigan.

The next day I looked at the website but couldn't find a 20oz apple listed. I called the nursery and a very nice man named Peter helped me. Silly me I was looking for 20oz but the tree was spelled out Twenty Ounce.

I ordered 2 trees and one arrived about 10 days later. I did have to send a check. Not a problem. As you can tell I like things the way they used to be. They apologized for only sending one tree. The size I ordered there was only one available. The tree that did arrive had a refund check attached with an explanation.

I'm very pleased with the tree. I planted it as instructed and it is doing well. I can't wait for Spring to purchase it's mate.

This nursery has been around for decades and I 'm sure the negative experiences fellow gardeners have experienced is due to the police investigation into the conduct of the office staff.

My experience was very positive and I can't wait to order heritage fruits and berries for my little homestead.

Now I need to find someone who has a very Big very MEAN rooster on steroids so the local hawk will stop taking my chickens! Just kidding about the steroids.

Positive ashmeadskernel
(3 reviews)
On May 27, 2011, ashmeadskernel Indianapolis, IN wrote:

I have been buying from Southmeadow and two generations of the Grootendorst family for almost a quarter century. (Sorry ladies, I'm showing my age.) I live in Indy and have a lake house 30 minutes from their nursery. They are truly an institution. I think the mistake some people make is thinking this is some sort of huge operation with lots of employees. They operate more like an old time nursery and do not have a lot of staff. They do however have one of the largest varieties of antique fruit trees in the country. In some cases I think they may have some of the only specimens of certain heirloom trees. It is mainly a mail order business. They don’t have a walk-in store, but you can pick up your orders from them. Fortunately, I live close enough that I have almost always picked up my orders in person and didn't fall victim to the deceit of the previous office manager.

Not to re-hash what others have already stated, but for a period of several years the owner's office manager was basically ripping off some customers and ripping off the business owner as well. I read an article in the Herald Palladium where she was convicted of felonies and ended up in jail. This tarnished an otherwise impeccable reputation for Southmeadow. Peter, the owner, has been working diligently at gaining back the trust of his loyal customers and rectifying issues going back several years. From what I understand, everything is back on track. (Sorry, but I find the previous negative commenter's review a little fishy... I don't think Peter would put all this work into regaining his reputation in the industry to just throw it away on that person's order.)

I would not hesitate to buy from Southmeadow and would not hesitate recommending them to anyone. My gut feeling is any recent negative reviews may be an effort from competitors to gain some of his market share or to try and take advantage of a person who has been through the wringer as a result of putting his trust in the wrong person. While visiting the Nursery last year to get some root stock, Peter told me of a person who was trying to get refunds for orders that ultimately were never even placed. It turned out to be a scammer who thought he could take advantage of the fact Peter was giving out lots of refunds to make up for the past misdeeds of his office manager. I will say Peter could probably use another employee, but my guess is he probably has a hard time putting his trust into another person. And really, who can blame him?

To anyone who is hesitant to order I say this, call Peter and talk to him. He is friendly, knowledgeable and certainly an upstanding business owner. He still does a lot of things the old-fashioned way. Which is actually refreshing in this instant-gratification, ‘click’ and you’re there world. Some of the best things in life take time. If you live within a few hours of his neck of the woods, it might be worth making an appointment and taking a drive to the nursery... the countryside and Lake Michigan make a perfect getaway spot. There are lots of wineries, great restaurants, and tons of lodging options. Do a Google search on Michigan's Harbor Country and you can see for yourself. I can highly recommend New Buffalo as a base for your stay, but there are countless small towns along the Lake Michigan Shore, all with their own charm. There is so much to do and explore. That is how my late wife and I came to find the appeal of America’s Third Coast many, many years ago. If you love arts and antiques, you'll also have found your Mecca.


~Never challenge an old man, because if you lose, you’ve lost to an old man, and if you win, so what?~

Positive mfmilan
(1 review)
On May 20, 2010, mfmilan Holly, MI wrote:

I have been purchasing mainly apple tree nursery stock from Southmeadow Fruit Gardens for the last 20 years. Most of these purchases were some time ago but a few more recently. I have had nothing but excellent quality stock that was very viable and have done well.

However my most recent experience was taking a grafting course in February. Peter was extremely patient with me even though I had some difficulty getting the hang of the one of the cuts. He persisted and wouldn’t let me perform the grafts until I did get it right. The course was a single day experience and we really had a fun time not just an educational experience. The good news is that all 10 of my grafts onto the root stock have taken and are leafing out so obviously he is a good teacher and he really knows how to do the grafts. I did bring home some extra root stock with me and when I got home I performed two grafts on my own based on his instruction and they both are viable and are leafing out.

I would highly recommend the grafting course and I enjoyed it so much that this summer I am going to go back and take his bud grafting course.

I will probably go back next year in February for the grafting course and graft my own nursery stock to bring home and plant. Part of the reason to do it that way instead of just purchasing nursery stock from him is that it ends up being a pretty good deal over purchasing 10 trees and it is a whole lot more fun. The number of varieties that he has is incredible and therefore it makes sense to either purchase from him or graft during the grafting course very unusual and hard to find varieties.

Peter is also an extremely knowledgeable person and just almost an encyclopedia of techniques and fruit tree varieties. He is also an extremely nice guy, like I said the entire day was fun and I look forward to going back.

Mike Milan

Positive samaritan
(1 review)
On Apr 23, 2010, samaritan Hanover, MI wrote:

I ordered late this spring, and was hoping Peter had all the varieties I requested. Although he had already run out of stone-fruit, he did still have 3 of my first choice apples, and one of my alternates. Peter did just put up a page of current stock in cold-storage, which is great because you can see what is available before you order.

They arrived well packed, and looked healthy. Using the instructions included, I soaked the roots overnight and planted them in the morning.

Overall, a positive experience so far.

Positive dclupper
(1 review)
On Apr 4, 2010, dclupper Jenks, OK wrote:

I called Southmeadow as it was one of several companies suggested to me by a local horticulturist here in Oklahoma.

Peter was busy at the time but arranged a time to speak with me later about my small, high needs order. In short he provided for a rush order and took a lot of time answering my questions about root stock and grafting options.

I believe him to be a fair, honest and hard working guy who enjoys what he is doing.

Positive gmartin64
(1 review)
On Sep 16, 2009, gmartin64 Goshen, IN wrote:

Southmeadow Fruit Gardens appears to be on the rise again. I first read of the company more than a year ago here on Dave's Garden. At that time I was deeply intrigued by all of the rare varieties, but was not sure if this was a reputable business. Besides, I was not ready to plant at that time...

So last June (2009) my wife and I made a trip through MI, stopping at five nurseries to personally meet people, see the businesses, and select some of the plants directly for our edible landscaping/permaculture project. Reaching Peter by phone, it was clear that he was busy, but I was able to make arrangements to visit his nursery at the end of the weekend, as we were returning home to Northern Indiana.

We bought three trees: two apple trees, and one peach. We appreciated seeing his operation, and since I have an aunt and uncle in the nursery business in Illinois, I know how much work that line of business can be. The main thing that I found different from all of the bad reviews I read was that Peter now seems to be handling his own business, and the previous manager of the business now seems to be out of the picture.

One last comment. The two apple trees were healthy from the start, but the peach was stressed. Honestly I thought it would not make it, and I wrote to Peter to let him know of the condition of the tree and my concern that it was a "dud." He wrote back, suggesting copious amounts of water, since it had been a bare root transplant and was clearly in shock. I followed this simple advice, and the tree is now in good health, three months after it was planted.

I think this is a business that is worth interacting with, but it helps if you also do your homework, ask questions, and do everything you can to ensure that the plant not only survives, but thrives. I plan to buy a meter to measure the pH, as well as the N-K-P of my soil in various locations. Purchasing rare trees, in my opinion, is important, because they are already rare enough, and we should be propagating them more, even as amateur gardeners across the country.


Positive chivian
(2 reviews)
On Jul 16, 2009, chivian Boston, MA wrote:

I run a small heirloom fruit orchard in central Mass., growing apples, peaches, pears, Asian pears, plums, apricots, cherries, and grapes. Most of my trees came from Southmeadow, and they were always healthy on arrival, were well packed, and were what they were said to be (always a problems with fruit trrees). They have thrived.
When Judy ran the office in recent years, my orders were not filled, and as numerous people have written here, checks were cashed, and communication was next to impossible. I must have spoken to Judy thirty times and could never get a straight answer. Like many others, I first felt I was losing my mind, and then realized I was being ripped off.
But now understanding what happened, I believe it is important that this historic heirloom fruit tree supplier be given the chance to recover its once hallowed reputation. They still have one of the best assortment of heirloom fruit trees in the country, and Peter, who runs the place, is a hard-working, honest guy who loves his trees and will be able to once again make Southmeadow the nursery of record without Judy.

Positive lesbro
(1 review)
On Jun 8, 2009, lesbro Ash Grove, MO wrote:

This is the first time I have ever posted anything, anywhere, but I felt the experience deserved it.

I called Southmeadow Fruit Gardens with a question regarding my order and Peter, the owner, answered. Not only did he answer my questions, he was generous with his time and knowledge. We talked about growing fruit trees for almost an hour. In 35 years of ordering plants and trees this was the best experience I have had.

Having made many phone calls to mail order nurseries over the years I have always been left feeling less than satisfied until now.

In addition, the 7 antique apple trees I received were much nicer than trees I have ordered elsewhere.

While I had not ordered from this company before it is now number one on my list.

Positive tobydean
(1 review)
On May 27, 2009, tobydean Ithaca, NY wrote:

I ordered a medlar and some gooseberries from Southmeadow. It was the only nursery I could find this spring with these unusual varieties. I liked the webisite, and its praise of the medlar. An unexpected trip out of town had me anxious about the order arriving while I was gone. I sent an email asking if they could hold it till past the weekend, and left a phone message for the busy nursery. Sure enough the order arrived the day after I returned and the bare root plants looked great. They are doing well in the ground now, in spite of the dry weather we are getting in the northeast.
I would like to try some of their really nice apple selection next year.
I was very happy with their service.

Positive michtreefarm
(1 review)
On May 26, 2009, michtreefarm Scottville, MI wrote:

I purchased 9 heirloom variety apple trees last spring from Southmedow Fruit Gardens. They are all thriving. I purchased additional apple trees for spring planting. They arrived in very good shape. Southmeadow Fruit Gardens provides exceptionally fine apple trees and is the only source of fruit trees that I use.

Positive 7boskoop
(1 review)
On Apr 21, 2009, 7boskoop Long Lake, MN wrote:

I just returned from Southmeadow Fruit Gardens with two beautiful Belle de Boskoop heritage apple trees and several Forsythias.
Being a first time customer and having stumbled over Dave’s website with all the horrid letters about Southmeadow, I was pretty uncertain if I should at all try to order. But Mr. Grootendorst‘s website lists such an outstanding collection of hard to find Heritage Apple trees that I had to order. Between fall and spring I had gotten to know Peter pretty well from our phone calls.
Last week, my husband and I drove to Michigan (from MN) to pick up our trees. We arrived early morning and as Peter had told me on the phone, two nice 2”ers were waiting in front of his barn. He opened up early for us, since we had a long way home. It was a warm welcome and after loading the trees we also got to see his huge, beautiful nursery. Probably over a thousand of apple trees, gorgeous Arborvitae in all shapes and sizes and of course his conservation fruits. The Cornelian Cherries were already in bloom. Peter loves his trees and shrubs, and is proud to be able to continue what his father and his mother had started.
He is going through a lot of hardship and tries to recover from the damage that his former office manager (Judy) had done. We saw her former office where opened and unopened letters are piled up high in all directions. Peter was working all winter to sort through the mess. We very much hope he can pull through! He is a very knowledgeable, honest and hardworking man and his trees are beauties.

Positive aficionado1
(1 review)
On Feb 18, 2009, aficionado1 South Bend, IN wrote:

I've made some smaller purchases from Grootendorst Nurseries over the years. What I really appreciated was the fact that it didn't matter that my purchases were small. I was treated like I was their best customer. Our relationship has grown from a business one to friendship. I understand Peter, the owner, is going through some tough times right now, after discovering his longtime companion has been mismanaging the front office operations. I'm not sure of the legal aspects, but I know Peter is devastated over the deception and the hurt this has brought to his good name. I wish you all the best, Peter, and hope people buy lots of your wonderful trees.

Positive Danmushroom
(1 review)
On Nov 27, 2008, Danmushroom Chicago, IL wrote:

We had seen SMFruit's website this spring and were impressed with its variety and erudition. Fortunetly, the nursery was near to where we lived so we had the opportunity to visit and pick out the fruit trees that we wanted. Early in the Summer of 2008, my wife, my dog,our landscape designer and I all visited. We spent several hours with Peter G ( the owner and son of the nursery's founder)and his dog walking through the fields, learning about the different cultivars and making our choices. We put no money down but were assurred the trees would be there for us to pick up for planting come Fall; and they were. We picked them up two weeks ago and Peter was again there giving advise and helping with the loading.

A few days ago Peter called to ask how things had gone with our planting and mentioned the problem he had with his nursery's mail orders not being filled because of embezzlement by his previous companion. He was obviously disraught about the impact this has had on his reputation. Although I have not dealt with him by mail, I can testify that in our face to face dealings he has been completely forthright.

Positive SmallTime
(1 review)
On Nov 18, 2008, SmallTime Oak Park, IL wrote:

I wanted to place an order for a couple Holstein large caliper apple trees, but after reading the negative comments, thought otherwise. I found myself reconsidering afer reading some recent positive responses on here. So, I decided to call to speak to Peter Grootendorst, the owner, to see if I felt comfortable enough to place an order. During a pleasant conversation with Peter, he explained how he had placed his trust in Judy, his longitme girlfriend, to run the office while he tended to the nursery. Judy had apparently been deceiving him for quite some time and was shocked to find unpaid personal bills, business bills and unfilled orders, with deposit checks, simply stashed away. He has been going through the bills and orders and making good. He says he is pretty well caught up, but when he thinks he has it all, he stumbles upon something else.

He seems upset that his name has been tarnished and appears eager and willing to bring back his reputation and hopes people will not be afraid to place orders and assured me, as the owner, that my order would be filled.

I decided that I not only wanted the tree, but I also felt compelled to help Peter. I placed the order, just under $800, and sent a deposit check for half. The trees arrived 3 weeks later, via UPS, just as promised. The trees are good specimens and I am quite delighted. If I want to order more trees, I will not have any hesitation. Thank you, Peter, and good luck to you.

Steve G

Positive countdoowop
(1 review)
On Nov 5, 2008, countdoowop Bourbon, MO wrote:

I have done business with Southmeadow since the late 70's and have always been impressed with their fine products and dedication in supplying the rarest of collectors items in rare fine fruits. I expect to keep doing business with them and create the best garden in town. They have an unmatched choice of rare varieties in plums and sweet cherries and old vintage apples among other things.

Positive appledave
(1 review)
On Oct 20, 2008, appledave Grosse Pointe, MI wrote:

I have dealt with Southmeadow Fruit Gardens for over 10 years and up until 4 years ago was always pleased with their service and heirloom trees. I placed orders in 2004, 2005, and 2008 and did not receive them. Like many others, my checks were cashed and I called Judy for assistance but there was never any follow-up or resolution.

Out of the blue, on Thursday, October 16, 2008 I received a call from Peter Grootendorst, the owner, asking whether I still wanted my 2008 order. I relayed my dissatisfaction about not receiving my orders from past years. He then told me that Judy was fired on September 16, 2008 for, amonth other things, stealing from the company and cashing checks without filling orders. He said that he is uncovering boxes of unopened mail (bills, orders, etc.) that Judy did not process. He is making an attempt to call everyone who's order had not been processed verifying that they still want to place an order before he cashes the check. While it may take months, he will be contacting everyone.

In talking with him for a half hour, I came away with the impression that he is mad at Judy's deception and that he is intent on re-establishing his good name. Based on this conversation, I have no concerns in dealing with Southmeadow Fruit Gardens in the future and believe that Peter will straighten things up over the next year.

Positive Satisfied
(1 review)
On Aug 6, 2006, Satisfied Forest Park, IL wrote:

I ordered some "F.J. Grootendorst" roses from Grootendorst nurseries through the mail. The roses were bought for some friends and were shipped directly to them from Grootendorst nurseries. These roses arrived at my friends house and my firends were delighted with them! They are avid gardeners and never saw these roses. The roses are alive and doing well.

My experience has been great with this company. I am very satisfied as are my friends!

Positive AceofClubsdivgr
(1 review)
On Jun 12, 2006, AceofClubsdivgr Ionia, MI wrote:

Clearly a lot has changed, and for the worse, since my earliest experiences with this company. The pioneering hard work of Theo C.J. Grootendorst, from the famous Grootendorst nurserymen family in the Netherlands, and Attorney Rob't Nitschke of Birmingham, has obviously fallen on hard times. There is no excuse whatsoever, for this recent terrible business record. I do not know know if either of the men is still alive...but they did indeed kindle in me a respect for, and deep knowledge of the old varieties of fruit. Almost single handedly, they instilled an appreciation for genetic diversity, and it's preservation, against an overwhelmingly powerful contemporary agricultural orcharding system.
Mr. Nitschke took me on a personal tour of his home and grounds..and treated me to tastes of the apples and other fruit available through Southmeadow. This is what the earliest customers were accustomed to, from the business, and which held the flagstaff for their next related business interests to follow.
Their personal touch and business integrity was correct..and it's a terrible shame to see this company reduced to commercial rubble. I am so sorry to see this..and encourge customers to find other companies to supply them...and fulfill their dreams. Ace

Positive EyedocMich
(1 review)
On Apr 13, 2006, EyedocMich Muskegon, MI wrote:

Due to several negative posts, I elected to take a two hour drive to visit Grootendorst Nurseries in person to pick up the Ashmead's Kernel antique apple that I first contacted them about by phone to make sure it was in stock. (I couldn't find any place else in the country that had any stock left this season for that apple.)This is not a mega garden center with operators on duty 24/7 but when you reach the owners, they are helpful and sincere.

Judy met me there and handed me my tree that looks in great shape and was pre-soaked with spagnum moss root wrap. She was about to leave for the post office with a VW Beetle jammed full of boxes of trees for waiting customers. She told me that the local Post Office forgot to weigh and put postage on a huge batch of trees earlier this week before forwarding on to Kalamazoo for central sorting and shipping. Now the post office can't find out where the batch went. Some dim-bulb temp didn't notice that the post office hadn't finished putting postage on them from Grootendorst's standing account before loading them up. So you make get a postage due or delayed shipment through no fault of this supplier.

There are only a few shipping weeks left this season. I feel it is safe for anyone to place an order if they call first to check on availablity. Lots of items are sold out for the season. NO stone fruits since a devastating winter two years ago. They are hoping for next year. I found that the best time to call Judy is just before noon E.S.T. or after the lunch break around 1PM. I'm happy. My tree is planted and ready to grow.

Positive ameliaswan
(1 review)
On May 2, 2005, ameliaswan Chicago, IL wrote:

I've had a few great experiences with Southmeadow, and love how open they are to my questions, as I am a novice when it comes to fruit trees.

I first visited Southmeadow Fruit Gardens in Spring, 2004, having been recomended to it by a close landscaper friend. I just drove in the driveway on a trip from Chicago, looking for fruit trees for the urban community garden sites where I work as a professional urban farmer and teacher. It was Easter weekend and quite rightly, the place was closed, but I was attended to quite cheerfully by a very lively and knowledgable woman, one of the owners. She took time from her day-off to walk me through the site and help me out with planting instructions, etc.

This year, she has donated some extra treelings to our gardens, all located in inner city neighborhoods. I am pretty impressed by this gesture.

Positive larutril
(1 review)
On Aug 26, 2003, larutril wrote:

I have dealt with this company for over ten years. Service has always been polite and timely. Prices are competitive. And where else can you find over 250 varieties including old world dwarf stocks? Miss this company and you miss a great opportunity.

Positive philenpharms
(1 review)
On Aug 14, 2003, philenpharms wrote:

We've had a positive professional experience with Judy and Martha at Southmeadow the past three years. The only delay we've experienced is a delay in them getting the phytosanitary certificate from the Michigan agriculture department to ship to California (a very restrictive state). Some say a change of ownership has changed things at Southmeadow for the worst. I know nothing about that. I DO know that they have an active customer base of about 50,000--a problem most nurseries would love to have!!--so it's no surprise that they've got some service issues and a few unhappy folk at any one time (and usually only the dissatisfied take the time to write in!). THE BOTTOM LINE IS, AS ANY SERIOUS POMOLOGICAL AFFICIANADO KNOWS, SOUTHMEADOW TRUMPS EVERY NURSERY IN NORTH AMERICA WITH THEIR VARIETY. Doctor Cummins in Geneva, NY has an excellent selection and the best rootstocks. Raintree has some great berries and some fun unusuals like the Shipova Pear. Stark has a hallowed name, but a change of ownership has caused the quality of their stock to suffer, in our opinion (then again, where else would you dare buy your Hawkeye Red Delicious?) John Bunker in Maine is an American original with some wonderful heirlooms and a true tree-lovers catalog. Sonoma Antique (now Trees of Antiquity with Neil Collins) specializes in a great Walt Whitman collection of apples. Big Horse Creek Farm in NC has the best southern varieties this side of Lee Calhoun (and some great annotations on the web). BUT WHERE ELSE BUT SOUTHMEADOW ARE YOU GOING TO FIND THE REINE CLAUDE D'OULLINS AND THE GOLDEN TRANSPARENT GAGE PLUM AND THE CELESTIA, THE MELON, THE MOTHER, AND THE EDWARD VII APPLE AND THE NOTTINGHAM MEDLAR, AND 500 OTHER THINGS ALL IN THE SAME PLACE?! If there IS such a nursery, please let me know. California couldn't take Michigan-grown fruit in 2003, and maybe 2004 also, so we'd love to have a Southmeadow-like option until Southmeadow can ship to us again!


Positive john_hempel
(1 review)
On Apr 2, 2002, john_hempel Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

Absolute first rate. Six trees ordered some 8yrs ago were all delivered promptly. All survived and are doing well. Some of these are Swedish varieties I never imagined I could get in the US but were right there in the catalog, and are now beginning to bear true to their descriptions. (Turns out, Mr. Grootendorst once worked in the Frescati Gardens in Stockholm.) A very professional operation.

Positive GindaFisher
(7 reviews)
On May 1, 2000, GindaFisher wrote:

Lots and lots of varieties of apples, also pears and small fruits. The catalog starts with an essay extolling the quality of a few of the offerings, and then is just a list of available cultivars. Each year the essay is different, and it can be quite informative on the few cultivars it covers - it is also a good read. A booklet that includes descriptions of all (most?) of the cultivars costs $9, and is tedious reading with less than terrific illustrations. The trees are fine and the variety can't be beat. Most are available on dwarf and semi-dwarf stock. The one that I bought was eaten by rodents over the winter, but it did fine (and even blossomed) in its one year.

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