I've been ordering from Sand Hill for a few years now.
I started ordering from them because I wanted to grow sweet potatoes in upstate NY, and wasn't sure it was possible until I ran across their site. I've had successful crops every year since then. Last year when I waited too long to plant my slips and they mostly died, they replaced them at no cost, and they all grew (this year I intend to pay them back, since it was my error that cause the initial failure).
I really love their selection, and the fact that they are 100% open pollinated, and considering that they are a family farm, not a seed company per se, I'm very impressed.
They also have the lowest prices for most OP seeds out there.
I ordered chickens from them two years ago, and for the cost of 25 chicks, he threw in 3 extras. Chick survival rates are variable and usually you lose a few, and I lost 2. That's pretty great for mail order chicks, and since he'd added 3, I actually made out in the bargain. All 26 who survived the first week survived to adulthood. All of the hens lay well, and one of the roosters is huge.
This is a very good company if you understand they they are first and foremost a preservation company. I have ordered chickens from them and were very happy. A few were weak but they all survived. If you want something you might have to order well in advance since they only grow a limited amount and do not get seeds or poultry from others. If you have the patience this is a good company.
On Apr 15, 2014, devinevegan Igo, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
I really enjoy this company's seed catalog and informative website. I ordered lots of Sweet Potatoes and am hoping to get some of them this year. I also ordered some seeds which did take a long time to arrive. That's ok, I ordered ahead of time because I knew this was a small company who fills every order themselves. They were having a special this year on Eggplant seeds, and I ordered several kinds. I also ordered Cotton, and Peanuts. All of them germinated except I had 0% germination on 'Rosita' and 'Chinese White Sword' not sure why this is. They were planted 2 to 3 seeds per cell in the same tray as the other Eggplants which all germinated without problems. I will look into how to conatact them about this. I will update my review when my Sweet Potatoes arrive as well.
On Feb 17, 2014, Lovenatives Nokesville, VA wrote:
I purchased vegetable seeds last year; most germinated very well but a couple did not. I contact the company; the owner determined that my timing wasn't perfect and explained how avoid the same mistakes. He replaced the seeds, and sent a bonus in addition. Altogether, a great experience; very professional advice. I will be buying from them again, with confidence.
On Nov 25, 2013, NDFrost Norwich, ND (Zone 3a) wrote:
I ordered chicks in 2012 and left the delivery date open with the stipulation that I wanted them to have enough time to grow enough to withstand a ND winter. I got a confirmation in the mail indicating that one variety would possibly be a problem. Since I listed no substitutions, long story short I didn't get my chicks and was disappointed and not happy with these people. They did send a refund along with a voucher for my next order. At that point, I really didn't think there would be a next order. Then I got a catalog in the mail that winter and it laid out all of the obstacles they faced the year before. I have been raising poultry for 25 years and could certainly understand what they were saying. I decided to go ahead and order again because there was one breed that I really wanted and the big companies don't carry it. My order was split into two shipments a few weeks apart and ALL arrived alive and thriving! Because the order was split, they included extra chicks of another variety to have enough to ship. That on it's own is a delight to me, I am getting to try out breeds that I never even thought of getting. When Linda called to say that the second shipment went out, I had a question on one chick from the first group that was a different color than the rest and I wanted to know what it was. She put Glenn on the phone and I have to say that both of them were a delight to talk to.
My one suggestion that I would have for them... maybe it would help to set up email groups (perhaps labled something like 'sweet potatoes 2014', 'Chicks 2014', etc...) and add email addresses to the groups as the orders come in. Then if there are problems, an email can be sent to everyone on the list. For example, sweet potatoes seem to be the source of a lot of complaints. So maybe an update sent to the sweet potato group saying simply 'due to cooler than ideal conditions, the sweet potatoes have been set back and are not sprouting. We appreciate your patience with the delay.' I don't think this would add tremendously to the work load, and people might not get as disgruntled if they know what's going on.
I really appreciate what they are doing, and can only imagine the work involved. I feel that preserving these varieties is very important and am deeply grateful to Sand Hill for sharing.
I ordered some unknown garlic bulbils to me late last fall. They were generous and healthy. They didn't have all of the varieties I requested, so they sent me a credit form, which was great with me because their mission and seed selections are truly awesome!
I just sent in my order for poultry and seeds. Very excited to receive my order. I ordered Assorted Heavies with a few requests, it will be exciting to see what we get. We lost all of our chickens last week to a weasel, so lost without chickens. We are new chicken enthusiasts (two years). It forces us to redesign the coop and of course try different heritage breeds!
I am truly thankful for the work they do and am looking forward to my order!
On Jan 24, 2013, jeremybro Saint George, KS wrote:
We ordered seed from them last spring because they had varieties I couldn't find elsewhere, and because I admire their mission. We will order from them again this year because of their great quality. The peanuts and popcorn were exceptional. The dent corn failed due to drought. I indicated on my order form that substitutions were acceptable, and they sent 3 different packets to replace the one that was sold out. Near 100% germination, vigorous seedlings -- would have had excellent crops all around if the weather had cooperated.
On Jan 17, 2013, ammeier West Lafayette, IN wrote:
My husband and myself have been patiently waiting for the Sand Hill catalog to arrive. And we have just received it last week! This will be our third time ordering seeds from them. We do like that it is not some kind of a huge company focused on profit, and we do not mind their catalog being very simple and not in color. They are very personal as well. All of their seeds thrived in the lasts years hot Indiana summer. Especially the chard mix : )
I just wanted to express my gratitude for their hard work and that they are here providing me with all their awesome seeds!
I Have ordered from Sandhill for several years and have always had good experiences. I love that they do this. I can't even imagine how much work it would take to do all this on their own plus they have full time jobs.(I don't know about anyone else but, I know I would not be able to do all this. I have trouble keeping up with my part time job and the large veggie garden). I mean look at all the variety! there has to be at least 500 different tomato varietys alone. probably 50 different pepper, over 50 types of melon, over 50 types of beans. etc. and on and on. they have every type of garden vegetable available. I love that they are non GMO. I have great germination rates, and healthy, strong plants from their seed. I enjoy reading threw the catalog too. I will always order from this company. can't wait for the new catalog to come out so I can start planning my next garden season!
Thank you sandhill for providing us with non GMO, heirloom seed.
Not your normal expectation for customer contact, no online order verification, no credit card acceptance, I did not know whether I would receive slips until they came, but their website stated that orders were first come first serve and might not come depending on crop.
Best sweet potatoes I have ever grown or eaten, I ordered from 2 places, theirs arrived in deep hot Texas summer (late may or early June) but arrived in better condition, took off and did better than my earlier planted slips.
I will be trying their seeds and chicks in the future.
We have ordered from Sand Hill for the last two years and will order again for the 2013 year. We have ordered seeds, chicks, turkeys and ducks. We have received most of your chicks on own first choice of delivery days (we place our order in the Fall). Our ducks were delayed a year but was totally fine about that. That nice spring was sent some of the ducks with few filler ducks and was refund for the rest of the order. Have always receiced timely emails from them. Very nice to work with. We use the different breeds we order from them to educate people at our local county fair. Thank You for all you do.
Over the past 3 years, I have ordered a variety of heirloom seeds from Glen and Linda. Without fail, their seeds germinate and produce far better than several other catalogs that I had religiously ordered from in the past. I am able to find EXACTLY what I am looking for each and every year. Linda had ALWAYS returned my calls within a weeks time and answered any questions I asked. As long as customers understand that this is a SMALL operation and PATIENCE is necessary, I feel the experience of dealing with Sandhill has been totally positive. Honestly, I couldn't be happier with their variety of seeds and quality of their poultry! My only wish is that they were able to squeak in a Facebook page! Thank you for all that you do, Glen and Linda! You are great!
Sand Hill is not a source for the 'needy', but for the patient. This is a part time job for them, and you have to give them credit for running an organic seed company in the middle of Monsanto country!
My order of seeds arrived after two weeks, and the amounts were generous, packaged well, germination rate excellent. And there is a great variety, free shipping on orders over $10., bargain sweet potato slips after season, bonus seeds, and great prices.
I have placed two orders with the company with no complaints, except, not knowing ahead of time when something is sold out.
This place is wonderful. Quirky, sometimes a bit grumpy in their catalogue, but truly impressive in what they do.
What you get from ordering from them is access to a vast variety of heirloom and rare seeds, sweet potatoes, and poultry, as well as other more typical products, from a company whose mission is to preserve the genetic lines of these species. The drawback is that they are a small operation that they produce almost all the seeds they sell themselves. They can run out of a product or get a little behind in fulfilling orders as they wait for things to grow or hatch. Understand them at the start and you'll have a good experience.
I've been ordering from them for about five years. All of the seeds I've gotten from them have germinated quite well. At least twice I haven't gotten exactly what I ordered, but it works out fine. As an example, my first order I ordered some odd variety of corn. It turned out they were sold out BUT in my order they included TWO packets of a similar variety PLUS a voucher for the price of the variety they couldn't send. On the order form you can indicate if it's okay to substitute a similar variety. A couple times I've received an extra packet of seeds to try out, too.
Last year I ordered sweet potatoes as well. They arrived when expected, all alive, and 1 or 2 extra of each variety I ordered. All grew very well.
As they say - repeatedly - on their website and in their catalogue - they aren't a huge operation and all their work producing poultry, seeds, and sweet potato slips happens here in Iowa. So, bad weather, a flood, or whatever could put a kink in their system, but they'll do their best to smooth it out. Knowing this before you order might help. It seems like some of the negative reviews were from people who were in more of a hurry than Sand Hill's system could accommodate. Don't count on them shipping your chickens before they hatch, as it were.
Ordering from them might not be to everyone's taste. If I absolutely positively definitely had to have exactly one specific cultivar that I could get somewhere else, I might not order that from them. If I needed something delivered on an exact date, I wouldn't order from them. I'd also be sure to notice that they make absolutely NO representations that they can oblige exact shipping dates. Usually I have a little bit of flexibility, and I enjoy doing business with them. Their variety and commitment to providing quality products and service outweigh any drawbacks.
I wish they would talk to an efficiency expert to reduce some of the quirks in their process, and I wish they'd ask me to copyedit their catalogue so it didn't sound gruff in places, but regardless I expect to be doing business with them for years to come.
On Nov 10, 2011, bella_trix Montgomery County, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I have ordered both seeds and sweet potato slips from Sand Hill for five years and have been extremely satisfied with my orders and the quality of their seeds/slips! They are a fantastic company, but a local, family owned, small, fantastic company. They grow their own seed, start their own sweet potato slips (in IOWA) and ship out with a very small work force. If you are expecting seeds very quickly or a guarantee on everything being available, this is not the company for you. They are at the whim of the weather and with sweet potatoes (in IOWA) that can be tricky. Last year was horrible weather for starting slips. They are not some huge company that pays cheap labor to grow everything out of the country.
In case the above makes you hesitate to order sweet potatoes...trust me, just order them!! It will be the best thing you ever did, even if you don't get some of the varieties that you wanted or at the perfect time. The varieties of sweet potato that Sand Hill has taste so much better than any regular sweet potato I've had. I love Betty's, Maryland 810, Korean Purple and Heartogold. And you can start your own slips the following year; it is easy on a small scale.
For seeds, Sand Hill's prices are extremely reasonable and the Heirloom varieties are top quality. Most of my "must plant" varieties originally came from Sand Hill. I have had good germination. Some of my favorites from Sand Hill are: Uncle Steve's Italian pole bean, Red Acre cabbage, Nobel spinach, Grape beans, Cochita Pueblo popcorn, Oaxacan Green dent corn, Cherokee Squaw dent corn, Saravejo Bamija Okra, Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon, Tatume summer squash and Odessa summer squash.
As a repeat customer, I recommend Sand Hill highly. Plan ahead, order early and have some patience; it is worth it to order from this company.
This is the second time I ordered from Sand Hill. The 1st time, there were no issues, I got what I ordered when they promised delivery. My sweets arrived in June, after the sweets I had ordered from another company. I will say, Sand Hill's started slowly but took over by harvest time. This year I ordered several specific varieties and the closeout special. My varieties were not delivered due to field conditions, but I did get a refund. The closeout special had more varieties then I anticipated, I had to scramble to find space for all of them. I look forward to my harvest. I totally enjoy working with this company.
My experience with Sandhill has been 110 percent positive! The company is definitely a "labor of love;" giving people an opportunity to receive very rare varieties they would not be able to find elsewhere. These people are not getting rich; in fact I don't know how they break even. All of their prices are very low and they have to be losing money on shipping.
I have ordered seeds and poultry from them and have been thrilled with the rare breeds and varieties. My crested ducks and rare chickens gave me pleasure for years! Linda and Glenn are amazing people. I can't wait to order again.
On Jul 29, 2011, NapaFamilyFarm Saint Helena, CA wrote:
I couldn't be happier with my experience with Sand Hill Preservation over the five years I have been ordering from them. Let me say first that, yes, I have read all the substantial disclosures in their catalogue and on their web site. Actually, I had previously thought it was all a bit overkill, I mean if their crops didn't produce and I don't get my ground cherry seed or sweet potato slips, it's not like my world will come to an end. Having read some of the negative posts here though, I realize why they wrote such a lengthy disclosure about their limited time for customer service and the uncertainties and hazards of farming seed crops and animals !
Roosevelt gave a speech long, long ago about how "It's not the critic who counts...The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood." I'm so very thankful for the dust and sweat and blood these folks endure (in what I read on their web site, it is a hobby undertaken in addition to another full time job!) for those of us interested in a genetically diverse, non-GMO supply of seeds and poultry and sweet potatoes (maybe they supply other things I'm not aware of, but that's all I've gotten.)
Over the years I've gotten chicks, ducks, seeds and sweet potato slips. Some years, my selections weren't available for whatever reason. As it says in their lengthly disclosures, I didn't get any advance notice that I won't get that part of my order, they just sent me a refund at the end of the season. It's been oh-so-VERY-rare that I haven't gotten something I ordered, and I order a pretty large number of different things each year. I got every sweet potato slip I ordered this year. They came later than I thought they might but HOLY COW they are growing like crazy. I'm not going to have any problem getting a great crop and we have a pretty short season in this part of the US. I should mention that like their catalog suggests, I place my order early each year.
On the seeds, I would estimate I'm well over 90% on the germination rate of a really diverse group of crops. (and truth be told I'm not that great a gardener :) I've gotten nearly 50 chicks from them and only 1 was not alive on arrival. Of the remaining 49, only 1 other has died in the last 3 years. I have gotten ducks from them as well and had the same exceptional experience as the chicks.
I always get a nice "thank you!" on my receipt with each order and the one time I had to call I received a pleasant response. I always feel I am getting way more value for my money than any other place I've gotten poultry or seed.
I am so very thankful to be able to buy the things for our place from a small family business. I am so very thankful there is someone who cares about genetic diversity to put up with the "dust and sweet and blood" for those of us lucky enough to share in their fine efforts. I'll add...it's not the critics who count.
Read the disclosures on their web site and in their catalog -- and know that they are not like the big catalog companies with a online, full-time customer service department. If I remember right, their names are Glenn and Linda and I think it's just the two of them doing most everything (I just can't imagine that in addition to a full time job), which to me makes me appreciate them and their efforts all the more.
I'll order from them every year and continue to connect my family and friends with Sand Hill.
Best wishes to all for a bountiful harvest this and every year.
Posted on February 4, 2011, updated June 13, 2011
I have ordered seed and sweet potato slips from Sand Hill for many years now for my large organic home garden in western Maryland. Last year's sw. pot. shortage was of course a disappointment, and our season here was brutal, so my harvest was a bust. This year I managed to place my sw. pot. order early (in Dec.) and look forward to a good harvest--assuming we get the solar-powered electric fence netting in place to deter one vile groundhog! Sand Hill's faithful work to preserve old varieties of garden plants (now with organic certification) and poultry breeds is in itself something worth supporting. But they deliver, too. I think some of the criticism of customer service may be legitimate ONLY as it regards phone communication. Glen and Linda are not in the business of coddling anyone. If you call about an order or a problem it's important to remember that these are people working very long, hard hours at a "hobby" business, with only a few hours to devote to phone calls and emails. I kept that in mind when I had to call last year to clear up a problem with my charges--a mutual error, as it turned out. The people who run small, dedicated family business are humans first, business people second. Perhaps at some point Sand Hill will have the resources to hire someone for customer service. Until then I am grateful for their continuing good service and rare, wonderful offerings.
On June 13th, 2011, purple53 added the following:
The slips for 7 varieties of sweet potato that I ordered in early winter arrived safe, sound, and beautiful today. With the weather we were having here in the Mid-Atlantic--extreme heat and no rain, after dark, cool days and flooding rain back in April and May--I've had my hands full getting beds ready and plants in the ground. But I WILL have the sweet potato beds ready by tonight or tomorrow! This is one crop I care very deeply about. The solar-powered electric netting around the garden is saving me from groundhogs; the high tensile fencing is still keeping deer at bay. Sand Hill is the source of not only my sweet potatoes but my heirloom tomato and pepper seed as well. Everything is healthy so far, and I'm happy.
On Mar 7, 2011, Moodene (Nadine) Devers, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:
I ordered okra seeds called Jing Orange from Sand Hill Preservation Center and was amazed how fast I got them in a timely manner by snail mail. Will buy from them again. I only found these seeds in 2 locations and other site was sold out.
On Mar 7, 2011, dreaves Hutto, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I ordered some seed (Orange Jing Okra) that I had been unable to locate anywhere else along with a few other types of seeds. The order was processed quickly and accurately. To be honest, I'm somewhat amazed since I know that the operation is done on a hobby basis, with paper-base systems.
The Sand Hill goal of maintaining genetic diversity is something that I can support, and I will order from them as often as possible.
On Mar 2, 2011, drthor Irving, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have just received my seed order.
This company was the only one that has a fantastic red variety of Okra from Africa.
I couldn't order on-line, so I sent a check with my order.
The seeds arrive in perfect time. The package has lots of seeds.
I also received a free package of seeds ... I am guessing because it was the first time I ordered from them.
I am very impressed and I will order again.
On Jan 28, 2011, Tabacum Mantua, OH (Zone 5a) wrote:
1/28/11.........Received seeds ordered from Sandhill
Preservation Center......they arrived well packaged and
with adequate seed packets....Prices are reasonable.....
This group adheres to the practices of genetic preservation of seeds and poultry.....something to be
admired in today's world of agriculture practices....
Have ordered from them in the past with seed rate germination adequate....
On Jul 28, 2010, JollyRoger Oliver Springs, TN (Zone 6a) wrote:
Ordered from this company for the first time this year. (Feb 2010). Very pleased with the seeds and fast service. They offer a very large variety of tomato seeds and I tried several including the free Medford sent with my order. Great experience and I plan to be a regular customer.
On Jun 17, 2010, LadyRadagast West Grove, PA wrote:
This was my first poultry mail order and I could not have been more pleased!
I chose Sand Hill because I support their mission of preserving and improving heritage-breed poultry and maintaining the health and genetic diversity of their stock. They have an excellent selection of rare and interesting breeds to choose from.
The breeds we had initially chosen were in high demand and we ordered late, so when they were unable to fill our first requests, we were sent substitutions instead. (When you order, you will be asked whether or not you will accept breed substitution, so be sure to indicate that on your order form. Do remember that Sand Hill is a small, family run operation and as such they are at the mercy of the laying/hatching rate as well as the changing desires of their customers each year). The folks at Sand Hill were very kind about everything and sent us some extras above and beyond what we'd expected to make up for it!
All chicks arrived on time at our post office alive and well. Within minutes of getting home they were drinking, eating, and running around! It's been over 12 hours and everyone is alert and active. There are no signs of lethargy or ill health, and zero mortality. Sand Hill has given this first-time poultry keeper the best possible start!
Thank you so very much! I will be recommending Sand Hill Preservation Center to all my family and friends!
On May 12, 2010, VAgardener2 Richmond , VA (Zone 7b) wrote:
Posted on April 30, 2010, updated May 12, 2010
Posted on April 30, 2010, updated April 30, 2010
I ordered seeds from Sand Hill Preservation Center for the first time this spring. I mailed my order on April 13th and received the seeds on April 23th. This is an amazing turn-around time considering that everything was done by mail and at the peak of ordering/planting season.
The seeds were packaged very well. I will try to give an update later about germination rates.
I also really like their website.
I support their mission of preserving heirloom seeds and highly recommend this company to every gardener.
On April 30th, 2010, VAgardener2 added the following:
I wanted to add that I got a free seed packet of Kale. I would never have considered growing it, but will try it now that I have some seed. Free seed packets are a good way to try something new. Thank you, Sand Hill.On May 12th, 2010, VAgardener2 added the following:
I wanted to add that there is no shipping charge for orders over $10, and $2 shipping for orders under $10. That's the best shipping policy I have seen. And their prices are very-very reasonable.
This is my top 5 mail-order seed company.
Keep up the good work.
Seeds were received within the guidelines offered by Sand Hill. It's remarkable that they get everything together as a "hobby". Quite an admirable undertaking. I was particularly interested in obtaining seeds for the South American squash, Zapallito de Tronco. Sand Hill was the only retail supplier I could find in the US. This squash is a household staple in Argentina and Uruguay, yet is almost unknown in America. It is a winter squash, generally harvested in an immature state and used as a summer squash, often stuffed. I'm hopeful that something with such great popularity in a country whose cuisine is similar to ours might become a useful addition to my home garden and my home cooking.
On Mar 26, 2010, Doug9345 Durhamville, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
This is the first time I ordered from this company. I mailed my order on 3/6 and my seeds were mailed 3/19. Not bad for mail having to go both ways. I ordered from them because ethy had a number or corn varieties that I couldn't get otherwise. All the seeds I ordered were included. I'd like to see them include a packing list with the seed to make it easier to check the order and to have something to file so that I know what I ordered when I look next year. I'd also like to be able to order online.
On Mar 13, 2010, Missyinbama Wetumpka, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:
I placed and order for chickens and seeds, relatively late in the ordering season. The turnaround time on the seeds was very good. I'm also actually pleased that they seem pretty accomodating to my chicken order since they are one of the few places that have the breed of chickens that I am looking for- and I looked around!
On Mar 9, 2010, blueeyeskms Waverly, KS (Zone 5b) wrote:
So far I have been pleased with this company in the past. Extremely displeased that I cannot choose my own varieties this year and had to order a general assortment instead. Will wait to see how many varieties are included and report back after receiving order.
After reading the company ratings on this Dave's Garden website, I chose to order seeds from two companies. One of which was Sand Hill Preservation Center in Calamus, Iowa. With respect for the old fashion way of doing business, i was very impressed with the turn around time. It did require me to write a check and print out forms and fill them out which wasn't that difficult and then mail it to San Hill. I ordered toward the end of Jan. 2010 and it took 12 days including the day i mailed my order for me to receive all of my 8 seed packages which i ordered. The seed packets probably averaged 45 seeds per packet which was very nice, along with a freeby packet which i will give a try in the garden. I do wish they would have updated their website before the first of the year, as i choose not to order seeds which the website stated were "out of supply" as of mid year 2009. There website has been updated as of early Feb. 2010. I will followup with the germination rate.
Got my 1st flock of chickens through Sandhill and they were/are just the most wonderful birds . Always been a pleasant experience dealing with them prices are GREAT on the assortments. Such wonderful people and birds ! Can't wait too get this years flock !
On Nov 15, 2009, DonShirer Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:
I have been ordering from Sand Hill for at least 4 years. I am impressed by the number of different heirloom varieties hard to find elsewhere, especially tomatoes. Every selection has germinated well and given me more seeds than I can use so I share with others. Only problem was that the bugs ate some cabbages, but that's not Sand Hills fault!