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Comments regarding Southmeadow Fruit Gardens (Grootendorst Nurseries)

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28 positives
6 neutrals
63 negatives


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Negative audreyjc
(1 review)
On May 17, 2015, audreyjc Carrier, OK wrote:

Posted on May 3, 2015, updated May 17, 2015
I ordered and paid for 3 gooseberry rives in 2012, I did not receive them, Peter said would ship in fall, did not receive called again then was told they do not ship in fall. Southmeadows also does not return emails. It is now May 2015 and I am still waiting for the 3 gooseberries. Spoke with Peter again like I do every year now since 2012 and was told same story.. was a bad winter, bad spring, don\'t know but will get it to me. I now just believe my money was taken and that is end of story. STAY AWAY FROM THEM

On May 17th, 2015, audreyjc added the following:

It took this post to get a phone call regarding my order, I stand corrected April 2013 I ordered berries, Peter told my husband he would refund my order if I would remove my "hurtful post". I thought about it and decided no. Non existent communication from his company, no response to emails inquiring about the order, I could have been more understanding about failing crops with better communication and updates. By the time I figured out I was not getting my order 2013,2014,2015 I could have ordered elsewhere.
Negative brianog
(4 reviews)
On Jul 21, 2013, brianog East Sandwich, MA wrote:

I ordered red currants from this company. They arrived dead. I never contacted them about this, but I never ordered from them after that.

Negative Historical_land
(1 review)
On Aug 9, 2011, Historical_land Standish, MI wrote:

Posted on May 26, 2011, updated August 9, 2011
This company has continued to scam mail order customers. I placed a mailorder April 9, 2010 and paid by check. My experience with this company is exactly as the negative commenters have experienced. My check cashed, order not received and despite many attempts per phone and e-mail with this company nothing has been resolved. He actually stated to me per e-mail that, "this was the first time he has ever shipped an order and the customer not received it". Obviously this has been common practice for this company for years. I have kept every e-mail and phone contact i've made with SMF regarding the order i have not to date received. Its now 13 months later and the latest e-mail i received from SMF (5-23-2011) was why did i wait from May 19, 2010 til July 2010 to contact them regarding this order. Whereas my records show correspondance continuing thru september and october 2010 where he clearly states, my April 9, 2010
order will be shipped spring 2011. When i contacted him April 2011 about my April 2010 not arriving as expected, he wants to dispute the dates of my "didnot receive my order" correspondance. He clearly expects me to go thru the run around with him again. I am going to follow up with the numbers
listed by others who have had the same problem i am having. Having
operated a business in a small community for over 50 years when we say
we will ship our products out they are shipped. I quess i was under the
illusion other business operated the same. There is no excuse that this
company is operating as it is. I will take further action with the authorities
listed in other customers negative responses written on Southmeadow Fruit
Gardens. This company has made excuses for its business practice far too
long and for him to e-mail me and tell me this is the first time an order has
been shipped and the customer not received it...that is clearly untrue.

On August 9th, 2011, Historical_land added the following:

I received my order ONLY aftef writing a negative comment on this forumn regarding southmeadow fruit gardens. An extra apple tree was added to the order. The trees were not the size i ordered which were to be of fruit producing age. The trees ranged from 8 inches to 4 ft.maximum. After wasting a year of my time getting the order i gladly accepted what was sent. Unfortunately, it did not end there i received a certified letter from SMFG this past week regarding my negative rating on this forum. It pretty much put the weght of his company's reputation on my negative rating? I have now forwarded all correspondance to my attorney. The positive post by Ashmeadskernel the day following my negative rating calling my post fishy...there isnt an apple tree in the world worth this hassle..i received my trees. I will not order from this company again...I also will not be "bullyed" in to changing my negative experience with SMFG to anything but what it is. As other customers have posted, pick your order up or if you must order online, documemt everything...there were 60 some negative ratings prior to mine, i find it hard to believe i'd be the sole reason his company was having business difficulty. The certified letter i recently received regarding this negative rating not being changed leaves a very bitter taste...he has a beautiful catalog i'll give him that.
Negative BStickney
(1 review)
On May 20, 2009, BStickney Woodville, AL wrote:

Where to begin: with their obfuscation, disorganization, fraud, or manipulation? Let's just say that they take your money, admit they have the money and say they'll send your plant, and then they deny that the order exists.

It seems that they cannot keep track of their stories. ("Uh-oh, did we just tell the customer that we don't have the money when we already admitted we had it and promised to send the plant? Oops.")

I have filed complaints with the Attorneys General of their state and mine and recommended prosecution. Stay away from Southmeadow Fruit Gardens (Grootendorst Nurseries). They are as bad as the Nursery at TyTy.

BEWARE and steer clear of this slimy, nasty company!

On May 20th, 2009, BStickney added the following:

P. S.: When I called the Attorney General of Southmeadow's state of Michigan and asked if they had had similar complaints about Southmeadow Gardens (Gootendorst Nurseries), the worker responded, "Ooooh, yes," as if she were weary of numerous complaints and knew what was coming with my call. I said, "...A lot of complaints about them?", and she said, "Yeah."

And I read the sympathy for Peter, but he's the only contact I have had there. That he blames a former worker no longer around to defend herself does nothing to make me have confidence in him or his disreputable business.
Negative kvrijmoet
(1 review)
On May 17, 2008, kvrijmoet Pawling, NY wrote:

I ordered three trees and a catalog. the order never arrived. I left messages and sent emails. Once I got Judy on the phone at 4:55. She told me that they close at 5 and to call back on Monday. When I pressed her since I had her on the phone, she made a hostile remark and slammed the phone in my ear. The following Monday we spoke, she pretended not to remember my order after we had gone over it twice before and then said she found it and that it had shipped. After another week, I tried back again and there was no answer and no machine. I thought maybe I was a little nuts because I couldn't grasp that I was being ripped off. Now that I found this website and the posts, I understand that they're unscrupulous very sad people.

Negative SoWestGardener
(1 review)
On Apr 4, 2007, SoWestGardener Colorado City, CO wrote:

We ordered fruit trees from Southmeadow Fruit Gardens in January of 2005. At that time, they did not accept credit cards so we sent them a check, which they cashed in March 2005. Our fruit trees were supposed to be shipped in the spring. By mid May, when our trees hadn't arrived and we hadn't heard from them, we started trying to get in touch with them. They never returned our many phone messages or e-mails. We finally contaced the Berrien County Prosecutor's office. They took our information and said that a deal was being worked out between the State Atty General's office and Southmeadow on behalf of all the people who were "taken" by these people. Southmeadow would have to refund the money or deliver product, advertise an accurate phone number on the web site, as well as accept credit cards. A woman from Southmeadow called my husband today to get our mailing address to send a refund check. (Uh, it's on the check you cashed and the order form that accompanied it!) When she had the information, she said, "Okay, you'll get a check." He asked if an apology was forthcoming. She said, "That will be with the check."
What rotten people. They STOLE our money and couldn't even be bothered to apologize. I'm so glad the prosecutor's office and attorney general's office went after them. The Berrien County Prosecutor's Office was very helpful.

Negative riopanplus
(1 review)
On Nov 29, 2006, riopanplus Ogden, UT wrote:

In March of 2006 we order a few fruit trees and to this day have not received them!! Like the others, we called and called, left emails, tried over and over to contact the company and they finally answered after all these tries. They said the trees had been shipped on such and such a date. Well we told them we never got them and they said they would refund us. THEY NEVER DID!! THEY ARE BIG FAT LIARS!! DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY!! FRAUDULANT!!! I am pursuing the Better Business Bureau to see if I can still get a refund.

Negative prairiestar
(1 review)
On Oct 11, 2006, prairiestar De Soto, KS wrote:

My husband was familiar with the company as being a reputable source for heirloom apples -- twenty years ago, under the current owner's father. Those days are lonnngg gone. My feedback may be delayed -- but is still valid, and confirms every other negative posting against this company. DO NOT DO BUSINESS with them!

We placed a reasonable order for a few heirloom apple trees last Nov. 2005. We never received an order confirmation, and after several unanswered phone calls assumed the owners were away for an extended winter holiday.

By the end of February 2006, when we still had not received our trees (ordered for the third week of Feb), we began to grow suspect. We made a couple of phone calls and finally got through! First we were told the trees would be shipped "that week". After another two weeks went by with no trees, we called again and were spoken too *quite rudely* and disrespectfully by the owner -- after simply asking for a refund. (We own a retail greenhouse business and if we treated our customers in the same manner -- there is no way we'd still be in business!). It seems these 'wymyn' have an axe to grind with the world -- and unfortunately are stealing people's money as a way to "get even".

After that last call (sometime in mid March 2006), we found this website, and gained confidence this was more than poor mishandling of one order. I contacted the Better Business Bureau and the Berrien County Prosecutor's Office: 269-983-7111, ext 8311; and the website to file complaints for mail fraud. Fortunately we received a full refund (by early -mid April), shortly after contacting the Better Business Bureau, who were the ones that contacted SouthMeadow.

I will say the new County Prosecuter was aware of the trouble, and seemed to indicate that the more evidence they can accumulate the definitely contact them if you have been ripped off.

Anyone know of a good source for Roxbury Russets?

Negative morganna
(1 review)
On Jun 7, 2006, morganna Bloomsbury, NJ wrote:

Two months ago I sent a check for 302.58 to Southmeadow Gardens for 12 fruit trees. To date, no trees, and no refund. They owners never answer their email or phone messages. I am going to take the advice of others and contact the proper authorities. I really regret trusting this company, and sure wish I had seen this website before ordering.

Negative kaiapit
(3 reviews)
On May 21, 2006, kaiapit Hollister, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

A big rip-off. When I checked about my mail order, I was advised that they could not ship to California (other suppliers do), and that they would return my cheque. Needless to say, the check was not returned, nor was there a refund. My subsequent letter (which included a SASE) was ignored.

Negative gregoryzaretsky
(2 reviews)
On May 20, 2006, gregoryzaretsky Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

In the spring of 2002 I ordered several berry bushes for almost $300. Eventually a card arrived in the mail saying that I had ordered too late. However, I have never received anything at all.

In the spring of 2005 I stumbled on the record of this order and called the company. The lady told me that she has my order and is going to send it to me tomorrow. I called again a week or two later and spoke with the same lady. She recognized me and asked me if she could put me on hold. I waited a long time and then hung up. I tried to call several times after that, but there were no responses.

As I read this site I see that I am not the only one whos money was stolen by Southmeadow Fruit Gardens. Perhaps we can unite and file a class action suite against them?

Gregory Zaretsky

Negative adksam
(4 reviews)
On Mar 31, 2006, adksam East Berne, NY wrote:

I ordered in spring 2002, and received a card in the mail months later saying I had ordered too late, but the items would be back ordered. Called spring 2003, and was told they would be shipped soon. Never received, no return to several calls & E-Mail. Since it was only about $50, I gave up - especially after reading comments here. For heirloom apples - try St Lawrence Nurseries - very reliable. For currants & gooseberries - Whitman Farms offers many, though I've never ordered from them. For other wierd stuff - One Green World, Raintree Nursery, and Forest Farm are all very reliable. Good luck to all trying to get money back from Southmeadow.

Negative DianaR
(4 reviews)
On Mar 29, 2006, DianaR Caldwell, ID (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is so sad. I have ordered from Southmeadow for over 25 years with great results. However 2 years ago we placed 2 orders. I am so glad that we received our apple trees. I love my Ashmeads Colonel and Cox's orange Pippen. But we never received our gooseberries and grapes. I'm glad it was only $100 worth. We have made many phone calls and had many promises. But nothing ever came through except more excuses. What is so sad is I can't find the gooseberries anywhere else. This is like losing a good friend.

Negative james67
(1 review)
On Mar 13, 2006, james67 Millersburg, OH wrote:

I had done business with this company for a number of years prior to 2003, and never had any problems. However, in the spring of 2004, I placed an order of $175.00 for apple, pear, and plum trees, and also an illustrated catalog. They cashed my check with great promptitude, and that is the last I have heard from them. I have made numerous efforts to contact them by phone and e-mail to no avail. This bunch of shysters bears no resemblance whatsoever to the operation it used to be. Stay Away!

Negative kurtju
(1 review)
On Mar 11, 2006, kurtju North Bend, WA wrote:

On 2/23/2005 I ordered 4 pear trees at $28.50 each plus 15% shipping for a total of $134.52. I was referred to SMFG by and article on fruit trees in Organic Gardening which listed SMFG as a source. At the end of March I called the company to find out an estimated delivery date and after multiple phone calls and messages finally spoke to Judy who said the shipment had been delayed because of being shut down by the Ag. dept. for an infection in their stock but were scheduled to reopen the 1st of april and my trees would be shipped then. By april 20 I still hadn't received my trees and again after multiple calls over several days I again spoke with Judy who stated they were shipped but that they were having trouble with their new shipping labels falling off so that must be what happened to my shipment. She promised to resend the order and to call me when it shipped. The trees never arrived and the phonecall never came. By the end of May I decided all I wanted was a refund and multiple phone calls and messages left later I finally again spoke with Judy who said she would send the refund as soon as the person who did that returned from vacation. Weeks passed with no refund check. By mid summer I was calling almost daily trying to get hold of someone there and finally some other person who said they shared a business line with SMFG answered and stated thet SM was closed for the season.
In mid December I restarted what had now become more than just a business matter. I spoke again with Judy and again she stated that she would have the check sent. By the time I finally got through again to them it was February and when I spoke with Judy again she stated a check was mailed on Dec 16. I told her that I never received it and she without question said she would send another one. Still no check. It is now mid March and I am again trying to contact SMFG but this time, thanks to the info recieved from this forum, I will be telling them also that I (depending on the length of time required to get hold of them) am/will be contacting the County Prosecuter and the MI Dept of Agriculture. I have already contacted OG to recommend that they should reconsider SMFG as a reliable source and plan to contact them again and suggest they read this forum to see what thievery has been perpetrated by this company. In all my many contact and promises of return calls I have never received an "I'm sorry for the trouble" or a returned call.
I wish I had researched a little more thouroughly prior to starting business with this company but there is comfort in knowing that others that have been similarly taken have had their issues resolved.
I understand that SMFG will receive a copy of this posting so just in case they actually decide to read it I only have one thing to say to them.....God have mercy on you for your transgressions.

On March 24th, 2006, kurtju added the following:

3/15/2006- 2 days after I submitted complaint forms to the MI Attorney General Consumer Protection, BBB, USPS fraud investigations and Berrien County prosecutors office it seems SMFG finally learned how to use the telephone. I received a call (the first call from them in over a year) with further excuses as to why I had not received a check and assurances that a check would be in the mail that day.The person stated that she was going to the post office within the hour and that she would send it priority mail. Needless to say I was skeptical. SURPRISE! Fully one week later on 3/23 I received the check---in a plain envelope, unsealed(apperared as if it had never been sealed) with no return address. So much for priority mail. I guess they have their own priorities which include ripping off the consumer until they get caught and then trying to lie their way out of it. It's a shame that the only way to get them to respond is through threats. My complaints stand with the various agencies and I will cooperate fully with them if they wish to persue these ongoing issues. I'm happy to have my money back(we'll see if the check actually clears) but I would be even happier if this business were put out of business.
Negative foxb
(1 review)
On Dec 29, 2005, foxb Esperance, NY wrote:

Ordered catalog
Did not recieve
Phone not answered
Check cashed
Phone answered- I was told long sad story, catalog would be sent
Never recieved catalog, phone never answered again
Found this website
went to:


Print out or complete online
Also- I think Federal law says items must be shipped in 30 days or full refund.

If you have been defrauded, COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THIS FORM.
Good website!

Negative foxtrailfarm
(1 review)
On Jun 14, 2005, foxtrailfarm Goshen, IN wrote:

On March 17, 2005 I placed an order with Southmeadow for 6 heirloom bearing age apple trees for which I paid $201.78 by check. As of today, June 14, I still have not received my trees. The few times I was actually able to contact anyone there by phone, all I received was a litany of excuses and reassurance that the order had been shipped ( three different shipments were attempted according to Judy at Southmeadow) all by US Postal Service. When I suggested Judy use my UPS account to send the trees she stated that UPS would not pick up at her business because it was too remote (simply not true according to my conversation with my UPS account rep). I even offered to drive up to their location to pick up my order but Judy was evasive about a time and date to do this. Finally in mid May, in utter dissapointment, I requested a refund. Judy assured me she would send what trees were available and a refund check. Weeks later neither had shown up. Efforts to communicate with Judy at Southmeadow have been unsuccessful as most times there is no way to leave a message on their answering service and on the rare occassions when you can leave a message it is never returned. Frustrated and disgusted, I found help in Tom Maiz at the Berrien County prosecutors office. (Thanks to the information in this forum). Tom was extremely knowledgeable about this company and their history of taking people's money. Tom was able to get Judy's attention and we eventually got on a conference call with Tom Judy and myself. Judy has promised to express mail me a refund check today. I'm not holding my breath based on a string of past broken commitments.
Given the recent history of this company and the many , many sincere gardners they have ripped off I am outraged that no one seems to do anything about it. My experience in talking with the Michigan Attorney's General Office about this issue was less than positive. They say there is "nothing they can do" because they cannot prove "intent" to defraud. So a disreputable, poorly managed company continues in business and continues to defraud their customers. Many I'm sure, just give up trying to ever recover their money. For me, it was about more than just the money. It was about fulfilling my dream of having an organic apple orchard filled with heirloom varieties. It was about the injustice of allowing a company to continue to defraud people and blame the US Postal service while the government agencies funded by OUR taxes and responsible for preventing this sort of behavior casually say there is "nothing we can do about it". The sad part is, I think there is a high demand for the type product Southmeadow purports to offer, it's just too bad it is mismanaged so badly. It is not possible for them to continue in business indefinitely given their recent history of fraud and deceit. Many thanks to Tom Maiz of the Berrien County Prosecutors office who went to bat for me to at least recover my money. As for my dream of an heirloom orchard, if anyone knows of a legitimate business where I can purchase my heirloom apple trees, please let me know. As a side note, I was able to find some of the varieties I wanted at Miller Orchards and Henry Fields. The product quality and customer setrvice I received from both of these orchards was excellent.

Negative kzozkum
(7 reviews)
On May 10, 2005, kzozkum Emmitsburg, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I placed an order with Southmeadow Gardens for over $900. worth of trees in October 2004 after surveying mutliple websites that recommended them as a good source for vintage fruit trees. Unfortunately, I did not find the Garden Watchdog website until January and my heart sunk after reading the horrible experiences that people have had with them. They had already cashed my check (why did I pay by check??!!), so all I could do was wait.

Of course, the fact that no one ever answers their phone is not very reassuring, and I have yet to receive a catalogue from them after paying my $10., and making two follow-up requests. (Not that I would want it anyways at this point).

When I had not received my trees by the end of April, I called and actually spoke to Judy who said my order had gone out the day before (April 24th).

By May 6th, no trees had arrived and I started to make some calls. Left messages but received no return call. Spoke to people in the Michigan Dep't of Agriculture who were forced to re-license the company this year despite their track record. Essentially, if they pay the fee, they get their license...period.

The State Attorney General's Office has a consumer complaint office which currently has 73 outstanding complaints against the company since 1998. They are primarily a mediation service and seemed to have no interest in shutting down a bad company. As they put it, Southmeadow has a lot less complaints than Walmart - a company that is probably ten thousand times there size statewide.

Finally, found someone in the Berrien County Prosecutors Office who has been investigating the company. After leaving a message with him, I received a conference call today (5/10/2005) with Judy on the line. She said that the order had been returned (????), that it was only a partial order, and that I was to receive a refund. She could not provide any specifics about the dollar amount of the refund, how much of my order was complete, or where she had sent my order. I'm having a hard time believing any of it, to be honest, and will update you when my order and refund check arrives.

In the meantime, here are valuable numbers to have when dealing with this company:

Michigan Dep't of Agriculture
Regional Office, St. Joseph, MI
Speak with Steve Lozmack

His supervisor in lansing:
Ken Rauscher, Division Director

Berrien County Prosecutor's Office
269-983-7111, ext 8311
Tom Maiz
has conducted an investigation into the company and seemed to know how to reach the owners

State Attorney General's Office

They have a web site with an online complaint process or you can print out a complaint form and mail it in. Their number is 517-373-1140. I was not impressed....
(PS A letter to Mike Cox, the Attorney General will be following this experience)

I will update this posting after receiving my trees and refund.

Negative takenbadly
(1 review)
On Jan 24, 2005, takenbadly Oberlin, OH wrote:

I've been trying for over a year to get my money back from Southmeadow Fruit Gardens, dba, Grootendorst Nurseries, Inc. They took over $250 from me. If only I had looked at this web site first. However, I was a longtime customer with the former owners and I had good results when Theo. Grootendorst and Robert Nitschke were involved. How sad to see this company destroyed after all that had been accomplished by these two great fruit pioneers.

My story starts on April 20,2003. I sent them an order with a check for $253.00. When I didn't hear from them by mid May 2003, I called and Judy said she never got my order, it must have been sent to the wrong address. Imagine my surprise when out of the blue the check is cashed by them on February 2nd 2004. I called her and said, "you cashed my check, would you send me a copy of my original order I've forgotten after this length of time what I ordered."

She did, and I have a copy of it showing that they received the order and cashed the check. I asked when I would be able to receive my order and she said sometime this spring. After numerous attempts to reach her in April I started keeping track of all the times I called. Finally, on April 28th 2004 my husband spoke with Judy who said she would call us back in 30 -60 minutes after she checked on our order. She said it was in the shipping room and should take three days once it's shipped, but it had to be packaged first. She did not call us back as she said, so we called her back 21/2 hours later. She said it was ready to ship priorty mail and it would be in the mail that day. No order was ever received.

We called on May 3, 2004 and spoke with Judy. We said we never received our order. Then she said they hadn't been sent out yet but she'd have to find them in the shipping room. We said, " you told us they had already been shipped last week, that you had personally seen to it that they went out in the mail". She said it was sent Priorty mail. My husband asked for a delivery confirmation number and she said they "don't track anything". I spoke with a postal representative in our town and they said nothing was ever received. After numerous attempts to reach Southmeadow unsuccessfully, (phone just rings busy) the last time we called in May 2004 there was an answering machine. I left a message asking to speak with the owner, Peter Grootendorst personally to resolve the order. We have never received any communication from them since we made that call.

Negative elwoodzeus
(6 reviews)
On Aug 31, 2004, elwoodzeus Saint Mary, MO wrote:

placed order for fall delivery of a moonglow pear called to check on progress of order. They said they had just begun digging stock and it would be sent when digging is over. Winter came and went... no tree...called....sent written request for refund....nothing.... finally in the fall(though a year late) I finally recieved my moonglow pear tree. never again despite their listing of many interesting varieties.

Negative StocktonGarden
(1 review)
On Jul 26, 2004, StocktonGarden wrote:

I placed an order in October 2003 for over $200 worth of fruit trees, plus the catalog. After numerous attempts by email, telephone and letter to resolve this with Southmeadow, by May 2004 I realized Southmeadow was not going to ship the trees nor refund my money. I finally filed a comlaint with the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, PO Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909 and am awaiting resolution as of late July. Something is terribly amiss with this company.....

Negative vmarvick
(1 review)
On Jul 19, 2004, vmarvick wrote:

I found Southmeadow Fruit Gardens via the Internet while doing a search for heirloom apple suppliers. In mid-March 2004, I sent a check for $243 along with an order form downloaded over the Internet. I did not receive any confirmation of my order, and have never received any trees.

At the end of April, after several attempts at reaching them (and leaving messages which were not returned) I finally reached a woman who said that their mail had been delivered to the wrong address and that perhaps my check was in that batch of mail. This woman's manner over the phone was very bizarre for someone in a customer service business. She did not seem to care one way or another whether I received my order or was satisfied with their operation. In fact, I wondered whether they were really in business, based on her manner on the phone.

She said that she would check the mail on the following day to see if my check showed up, and call me. I did not receive a call, and further attempts to call her were met by the answering machine. A few weeks later, while finally balancing my checkbook (not very organized, I know) I discovered that my check had been cashed in early April. After a couple more unsuccessful attempts at reaching a person, I spoke to the same woman who again showed absolutely no concern for my experience as a customer--no apology, or even recognition that I might be frustrated. My demeanor throughout all phone calls was very polite and cordial. I asked what had happened to my order and she replied "I have absolutely no idea." She asked for my address and the amount of refund to be sent and said it would be mailed out that day. I have received nothing.

After reading these posts, I am wondering whether I can resolve this situation. I guess I will try a certified letter. I certainly wish I had discovered this website prior to placing an order. Needless to say, I won't be ordering from them again. If I succeed in getting a refund, I will post again.

Negative michaelpc
(1 review)
On Jun 27, 2004, michaelpc wrote:

Broken Heart

My father spent many years in Narbonne (South West of France) after having fled communist terror and persecution in the Soviet Union. He immigrated a second time to the US after world war II and settled in to have a family and rebuild his life.

Now 91, he has always spoken very highly of the kind treatment he received by the people of Narbonne and has kept a special rememberance of them each year during the summer when he would bake a prune tart which we would share in the garden with a wonderful strong coffee he also learned to make from his French neighbors.

Last Fall, a friend told me of the Southmeadows fruit nursery and I visited the website only to find that they offered Prune D'agen, the very famous plums from SW France which are known to have wonderful aroma, texture and unbeleivable flavor. Having discussed with my father, he enthusiastically insisted that I place an order for not only the "Pruneaux D'agen, but also for 4 "Cassis" or black currant bushes. He wanted to plant the tree in my garden, for my family so that we may always have when he is gone, and to carry on the tradition of "La Fete du Pruneaux" and to ensure that we as Americans remembered that good-hearted people are around the world, not just in US.

After several months and the same story as others, i.e. telephone calls during which I was told that orders don't go out on Fridays, but mine was going out that next Monday, no trees arrived. Finally, I even offered to drive to Baroda personally to pick up the tree but received no response.

Long story short, I did recently receive a check back from the company refunding all my money, but my father is heartbroken.

I understand the ups and downs of business as I am a business man myself. Nevertheless, I am writing today to question why a website still exists where others, who in Fall and Winter will dream their garden dreams, and who may naively still send money orders or checks only to have their excitement killed.

To fool me is one thing, to disappoint a 91 year old man is another. My father is a gentle, quiet type who loves his flowers, his quite fruit garden and family and friends. Please, I wish Southmeadows all the best in getting back on their feet and starting up the business again, but until such time as they are ready to take and fill orders, please shut down the website.

False advertising is the equivalent of Fraud. Fraud is punishable by law.

Negative jlevans
(1 review)
On Jun 19, 2004, jlevans wrote:

I sent these folks an order and check for $349.00 in January 2004. The check was cashed but the order was not confirmed. I expected arrival in late March/early April. I called the first time in mid March and was told that shipping was just starting for the East Coast. I called in April and after several busy signals I talked to a woman (same voice who has answered the phone each time). I was told everyone was out to lunch and to call back. When I called back no one was there. Left message and received no return call. I've have called 6 or seven times since then and either left a message or talked to the woman who told me that that the computer was down, that the electricity was out in the whole town, that my trees would arrive in a week, in three days. That my trees had been shipped and returned damaged and that they could send them again or that they could refund my money. Each time she is very sincere and creative. I will not let this matter drop even if I never get my money back.

Negative gizzardj
(2 reviews)
On Jun 4, 2004, gizzardj Franklin, TN wrote:

My experience with this company has been much like the others expressed here. I only ordered one tree back in Febuary and my check was cashed within a week of my sending it. By mid-April I had not received the tree and still haven't nor have I been able to get a refund. I have called this company at least a dozen times and have actually gotten through to a live person four times. Each time there is an excuse - the lady that handles that is out sick, the power is off and the computer won't work, the phone system has been down, yada yada. And each time I am told that someone will call me back tomorrow. Stupid me actually believed that the first three times. I have reported this company to their local and regional BBB but am beginning to wonder if those organizations actually exist since I have yet to get any response other than an email confirmation from them. And speaking of emails, the lady at SouthMeadow says they don't read their emails and that's why they never responded to mine. I guess I will have to write off my $32 to continuing education.

Negative LarryD
(2 reviews)
On May 19, 2004, LarryD Jasper, IN wrote:

Note my comments to the postal inspector.

I talked to "Judy" and was told to send them $37.00 for the tree I wanted. I bought a Postal M.O. the same day and mailed it the next day, 21 april 04. I have called and talked to "Judy" twice since then and was told the reason that they didn't answer my 4 emails was that the phone sys. had been "down for over 2 wks." and that they have the plants in "cold storage" and their shipping season was ending day after tomorrow ...that was 12 may so I assume she was talking about 14 MAY 04. anyway , I called back the next day 13 may asking if I could get another type added to the order and was told she thought it had already been shipped.
It is now 19 may and ...nothing.

I find out on Garden Watchdog website that 90% of coments are Negative.

Negative cebula
(1 review)
On May 11, 2004, cebula wrote:

I order over $150 worth of tress to be delivered in early April. Of course no trees came but the checks were cashed. TodayI called southmweadow and someone actually answered the phone. After 58 attempts !! ( No one answers my email or faxes or ususally answers the phone . So I reported them to the Attorney generaals in my state and in Michagan.) I asked about my order and was told that it shipped this morning. But I was told that it also shipped "this morning" about 3 other times. I was told I should refuse the trees if I no longer want them and then i will get a refund. Now do you think I will really get the trees or the refund?

Negative wheresmypears
(1 review)
On Apr 27, 2004, wheresmypears wrote:

Does anyone have any idea what the current status is with these folks? I have had the same experience...sent money, no trees, no responses other than the usual empty promises. I even sent a certified letter, but they never claimed it from the PO. Has anyone had success getting either money or plants from them this season? Is anyone going to Michigan anytime soon?

On June 21st, 2004, wheresmypears added the following:


I sent a polite but firm letter (certified) clearly demanding my money back, and several weeks later, I actually got a check. It seems to have cleared their bank too! I highly recommend that anyone who has been lured to send money to this company write a letter.
Negative mcalpine
(1 review)
On Apr 20, 2004, mcalpine wrote:

I ordered 135 trees for shippment on May 7, 2004. My checks were cashed in winter 2003. I have been trying to confirm my order and shippment method. I have called about six times and could only leave voice mail twice because the machine was full. I also emailed once. After reading the other comments I am very concerned I may have spent a lot of time and money preparing the planting site (electric fence, tilling, mowing, installing irrigation) and the trees may not arrive. If any one has an email address or phone number for the company that is different from the one on the order form please post it here.

Negative cheated_too
(1 review)
On Apr 4, 2004, cheated_too wrote:

My mother was cheated as well - "luckily" it was only on a catalogue order. These are regular thieves. They cashed the check and 3 months and several phone calls later, have yet to deliver the order. Now they don't even answer phone calls. I'm surprised these people are still in business. Besides a BBB complaint, does anyone have ideas of action? Would be interested in doing something about this.

Negative 3Oaks
(1 review)
On Mar 23, 2004, 3Oaks wrote:

Similar experience. Placed order of trees and conservation bushes for delivery in spring of 2002. Check cashed but no delivery or response, despite numerous calls, emails and letters.
I am not going to let this matter pass, especially in light of all the other people that have been cheated. I am an attorney and another attorney friend of mine was also victimized during the same time period. Since neither of us are currently licensed to practice in MI, I am going to contact an attorney in nearby Saint Joseph, MI. If you are interested, please indicate your interest here.

On April 10th, 2004, 3Oaks added the following:

04/10/04. UPDATE. After contacts with a representative of the District Attorneys staff in Southmeadows County, Southmeadow agreed to make refunds at this to those who had made payments to them but had not recieved their order. I have recieved a check this week and am waiting for it to clear.
If you are owed money and have not recieved a check, I strongly suggest you write to Southmeadow again by means of US mail, return reciept requested.
Negative HighBrix
(1 review)
On Feb 26, 2004, HighBrix wrote:

I phoned Southmeadow Fruit Gardens about two years ago to potentially place an order for a hundred or so trees. I knew nothing of the current reputation of this nursery. I literally left a dozen or so messages on their answering machine initially to get in touch with these folks and eventually got a call back from a woman who acted shocked when I'd said I'd left over a dozen message: "Oh, we must be having a problem with our machine." I gave her the benefit of the doubt and went ahead and faxed an order to her so she could check her inventory for the following Spring. Something just felt a bit off about this woman. It was odd. All she seemed concerned about was getting a deposit check from me. On a hunch, I Googled the place and discovered Southmeadow's horrid list of complaints on Garden Watchdog. Thank God I checked. I never followed through with her, and not suprisingly, never heard back from her, either.

Southmeadow was reputedly once an amazing nursery before it landed in the hands of its current owners who've basically flushed the place down the toilet. It's a shame, because their website offers an amazing variety of trees that they apparently can no longer provide.

Maybe someone will buy them out and re-establish their once solid reputation.

John A Gasbarre
Three Hills Farm
Union, Maine USA
[email protected]

Negative fireman383
(1 review)
On Feb 24, 2004, fireman383 wrote:

Ordered 6 trees one year but only received 3. The next year gave them another chance and ordered 6 more trees but received none.
Southmeadow never answered emails or letters but did cash checks.

Negative browngoose
(1 review)
On Jan 4, 2004, browngoose wrote:

I am quite concerned that I have been "had" by Southmeadow, like many other people that have commented to this website. I mailed an order for approximately $75.00 on 11/12/03 for two "bearing age" trees and a catalog, after speaking breifly to an unidentified person on the telephone at that company. Trying to get Dr Matthews Apple Trees. After approximately two weeks my check was cashed. I have yet to receive trees, catalog, confirmation of order, or even notice as to when my trees might arrive. I have attempted repeatedly to contact anyone at Southmeadow via Telephone (left messages because no one answers during "business hours"), and E-mail. Have yet to speak to a person after the first initial contact on about 11/10/03. Even though I live several hundred miles away, I am considering paying a personal visit to their street address provided on their website (10603 Cleveland Av. Baroda, MI) to see what the heck is going on. I wanted to get the trees in the ground before winter, but it's too late now. I can only hope to get them before it gets too warm in the spring. I'll not be buying anything from Southmeadow again.

On May 1st, 2004, browngoose added the following:

Shock and Awe - My two Doctor Matthews apple trees came today from Southmeadow. They were on the small size (no smaller than what you might get from any other mail order nursery though), and had REALLY healthy root stocks. They are about 4 ft high pruned hard, and about 3/4 -1" diameter, and already breaking bud.
I spoke to a representative at Southmeadow about two weeks ago, and was told that my trees were going to ship in three days. She also told me that the company changed hands last November, from the elder Grootendorst to one of his offspring, and that they had been facing a lot of difficulties in cleaning up messes left by the elder due to his deteriorating mental faculties. I must admit, I am quite dubious about this story, but I wanted to give credit where credit is due - the trees that I received are really healthy looking. That being said I also ordered and paid for a catalog that I was supposed to receive with the trees, which never showed up.
All in all, I'm not very happy with the fact that I never received any kind of confirmation of order, or expected delivery date. I am not very happy that I did not receive a $10 catalog that I ordered, and that it has been exceedingly difficult to contact anyone at Southmeadow during the past 5 months. I am however very happy with the trees that I received today - as long as they DO prove out to be Dr. Matthews when they begin to bear.
Negative Blueberrynut
(3 reviews)
On Dec 31, 2003, Blueberrynut wrote:

Placed my first order,spring 2002,got confirmation right away and they cashed my check. After MANY phone calls finally got 2 of 4 trees shipped in late May. Crabapple had 3 variaty names on one tag, which one did I get? They had 3 or 4 differant explainations for the late shipping and 2 trees missing. Claimed that mice ate most of their stock. I gave them benefit of doubt due to having heard good things written about them in past and being impressed with such a choice of varieties. Ordered 5 new trees and trees fm year before. This was sent early 2003. they cashed check right away, would not answer or return calls or E-mail. Here it is New Years eve, no trees, no money back this year no explaination. My Resolution: no more chances .

Negative UDFLIER
(1 review)
On Dec 7, 2003, UDFLIER wrote:

I placed an order for an apple tree last April. I have not received that apple tree and have not heard back from Southmeadow. I have phoned them, emailed them, and no response. I have a feelig that I am another victim of the Baroda Bandits! This is a shame, one of the better nurseries in the Midwest and now a home for crooks. UDFLIER

Negative aggie1
(1 review)
On Nov 4, 2003, aggie1 wrote:

How sad,what has become of such a fine business. I have only recently ordered and am willing to wait and see if I receive my trees, but the policy of never responding to phone calls, faxes or emails is very frustrating. In the meanwhile, does anyone know where else heirloom apple trees can be ordered? If I receive my Southmeadow trees, I will immediately post a positive rating to this site. If not, a note to the Mich. Attorney General

On May 22nd, 2004, aggie1 added the following:

May 22, 2004. Planting time and I have no correspondence, no explanation, no confirmation, no trees, no refund. Has anyone visited the place to see WHAT GIVES?
On June 4th, 2004, aggie1 added the following:

Well, it's SOMETHING. This morning I called the Mich Atty Gen. office for a complaint form. This afternoon I received a check reimbursing me in full for my 2003 order.No explanation, and never did make any phone or fax contact. The check was from Grootendorst, not Southmeadow. I feel better but will deal henceforth with Cummins in NY State.
Negative buuger
(1 review)
On Sep 12, 2003, buuger wrote:

Same story. Ordered two roses and two trees Fall 2001. I have received nothing but assurances over the phone from the same voice that's on the answering machine. I'm only out around $60 so it's kind of trivial. I had hoped to have some apples starting next year. I live close enough that I could go get my trees and roses, but they won't answer the phone so I can make an appointment and get directions.

I'm filing with the postal service.

I also sent e-mail to the member from Baroda Township.

Don't waste your money on these people. No matter how much you want that Cox's Orange Pippin.

Negative Cider
(6 reviews)
On Aug 6, 2003, Cider Clyde, NY wrote:

I sent Southmeadow $10 for a catalog, as specified on their website. They cashed the check efficiently enough but never sent the catalog, despite my phoning them repeatedly, sometimes getting a live person, who would either shift responsibility to an employee not present or earnestly assure me the catalog would be sent. More often I got a recorded message; messages left at the prompt were never answered. I also emailed them and never received an answer. I sent them the money last year. I have sent copies of all relevant documents and a letter to the Attorney General's office in NY and have received neither money nor catalog to date. I think Southmeadow is a scandal. Thank heavens I never sent an order.

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