Customer Service Failure From Integration Acres (Albany, Ohio)

img_1222I don’t like to talk negatively about a business. Often, when I find a business with poor customer service, I just promise not to return and move on. Poor customer service is one thing. Apathy is something else.

You can read my earlier posts about the paw paw. It is on my “to do” list to try it for the first time. Sadly, I missed the season for fresh paw paw this year but I remembered a post that listed Integration Acres as a place to buy frozen paw paw. I ordered a bag a frozen paw paw pulp and two flavored paw paw pops. I was excited at prospect of tasting paw paw and writing about it.

First Integration Acres shipped the package of frozen item via UPS Ground. It took three days to get to me. All of the items were fully defrosted and the box had a stench when I opened it (see photos). A sad situation but easily corrected.

img_1223I called the number on the nice letter included in the package. The letter thanked me for my purchased and said to “call, text or email with questions, comments, experiences and suggestions”. I explained the situation and the nice man on the phone asked me to send an email with the details. He promised they would fix the issue. I send an email with details and photos.

Two days go by with no response. I called the number again and get voicemail. I leave my name and number and said I was confirming they received the email.

I get a text a few minutes later saying, “I’ll call you right back”. That was two days ago.

Promising to fix an issue then not responding is worse than poor customer service! Instead of writing a post praising Integration Acres for helping me solve a problem! I’m writing about this. Any ideas how to handle this?

Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!

Found Some Paw Paw

paw-paw-photoI’ve written about paw paw in two posts, Presenting The PawPaw and The Search for a Paw Paw. I was looking to taste a paw paw this season. I nearly missed it!

I called a couple farms that sell paw paw. Both told me the season was done for this year. Paw paw season starts around the last week of August and can go until the middle of October. This year, unfortunately, there was a cold spell that ended the season early. In short, no more fresh paw paw this year.

This presents a question and a problem.

The question – You can get apples, bananas and other fruit nearly all year around thanks to global trade. Why can’t I find paw paw out of season? Well, here’s a Youtube video with the answer. I simple terms, I’m told the paw paw tastes great, but it doesn’t travel well. It’s a very fragile fruit.

The problem – How can I taste a paw paw this season? Thank you global trade! It’s too late for fresh paw paw but I can get it frozen. Integration Acres Ltd. sells seedless frozen paw paw pulp and other paw paw products. The frozen paw paw is only available while supplies last. I order a bag of frozen paw paw and two flavored paw paw pops (1 cherry & 1 strawberry). I got an email the order was shipped today. I’m looking forward to this.

I saw a post that’s great timing for my little project. Smithsonian Magazine did a post called, “Tired of Apples? Pick These Exotic Fall Fruits Instead“. It lists the paw paw along with six other exotic fall fruit. More stuff to try. What a wonderful world!

Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!

A Visit to Lake Anne Brew House

img_1211I had three good reasons to visit the Lake Anne Brew House Sunday. First, the brew house is located in the historic Lake Anne Village Center in Reston, VA (Fairfax County). The shopping center sits at the end of Lake Anne. It makes a pleasant backdrop for shopping, eating and people watching. My wife and I like this area but we don’t get to visit much.

Second, to check out the award winning beer! Two of the beers at the Lake Anne Brew House earned the 2016 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. Their “Lord Fairfax English Pale Ale” placed 2nd for a British Bitter. Their “Reston Red” placed 3rd for an American Amber Ale.

And third, to meet the business dynamo at the head of this female-owned nano-brewery. Melissa Romano and her husband started the brewery six months ago. I learned about this start-up when I contributed to their Kickstarter campaign back in September 2015. They raised $26,000 from 191 backers to help get the business off the ground. Congratulations to this hard working couple with their creative way to help finance a business.

img_1214There’s a couple things you should know for your visit. Get the correct address from their website before you drive there. You need a special address entered into GPS. You’ll get lost if you use their mailing address.

Next, they have snacks for sale but no food is served at the brew house. They have a great solution to this. The brew house has a menu with food items from the nearby Kalpso’s Sport Tavern. Order food from the tavern and a server will bring the food to your table at the brew house. More creative thinking and a good partnership with a nearby business.

Now you have three reasons to visit as well. Grab a few friends for some great beer and a great view!

Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!

Corn maze mayhem: Farmers go above and beyond to attract fall visitors

Baltimore Magazine has a post listing the amazing corn mazes you can visit around Maryland this Fall. From the post:

“It takes most people two hours to complete a series of corn mazes at Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farm — maybe 40 minutes if you’re really an expert.

But for those responsible for the maze, it’s more of a yearlong effort. And, as families flock to corn mazes across the state each fall, it’s not enough for farmers to till any old zig-zagging pattern through cornfields anymore.

Within the past decade, corn mazes have become much more intricate, forming images of local sports mascots, celebrities, presidential candidates and other notable figures. Locally, mazes have taken the shape of pop star Taylor Swift, Gov. Larry Hogan and the Oriole Bird.”

Check out the post – Corn maze mayhem

Fall Into Adventure: 34 Off the Beaten Path Things to Do

Baltimore Magazine has a post listing things to do in the Mid-Atlantic area during the Fall. From the post:

“Not too hot, not too cold, and not too far. Fall is the perfect season for off-the-beaten-path adventures in the Mid-Atlantic, whether it’s pedaling along a grand canyon, focusing on nature in the mountains, or finding treasure at the end of the trail.”

Check out the post – Fall Into Adventure: Take A Bike Ride, Snap A Photo, Go ‘Geocaching.’