Sand Hill Preservation Center

Signed Safe Seed Pledge View Their Product Listing

1878 230th St
Calamus, Iowa 52729-9659 (United States)
(563) 246-2299



Displaying the 50 most recent reviews

On Feb 12, 2021, Happytoo (1 reviews) from Troy, NY

I placed my order 3 weeks ago and received it today. Pretty great for a mail in order, especially during COVID. I received everything I ordered, plus a few free gifts. Two of the gifts are vegetables I never heard of. I’m looking forward to trying them. I’ll be starting my onion seeds soon so thank you so much for a beautiful and smooth transaction.

On Nov 1, 2020, jt6218 (1 reviews) from Ridgeville, IN

I have been a customer of Sandhill Preservation Center for around 5 years and have purchased poultry, sweet potato slips and seed from them. I have always been very satisfied with everything I have purchased from them. Glen and Linda are some of the most honest and caring people in the industry. I have always received more poultry than ordered and there are always seed samples sent with your order. The only occasion that I had a problem with poultry arriving dead (a USPS issue as another same day shipment also arrived dead) the issue was handled promptly. During the 2020 hatching season, a gosling order could not be filled due to poor hatch rates. I was offered either a full refund for the unfilled portion or twice the amount in future credit. PLEASE UNDERSTAND: 1. They are a "mom and pop" operation" without a lot of staff 2. They are not profit motivated. Their motivation is preservation. 3. You probably won't get an immediate email reply as Glen is a fulltime teacher and takes care of hundreds of varieties of poultry daily. If you are patient and understanding, you will be greatly rewarded. After doing business with them for several years, I feel almost like they are family.

On Sep 26, 2020, Darby64 (1 reviews) from Weatherford, TX

Posted on September 16, 2020, updated September 26, 2020 I ordered sweet potato slips from Sand Hill Preservation Center. I inquired by e mail in June and July 4 as to the status of the order as I had heard nothing. They noted on their site they are not the most responsive by e mail and I certainly never got a reply from either of the two emails I sent inquiring about the status of the order. Come September I inquire about my presumed refund given I never received the order. After this e mail I finally got a response that was polite, basically said my order was delivered on July 2 and they hadn't heard anything from me so assumed all was ok. Yet I had contacted them twice, including two days after the supposed delivery. They sent me some delivery tracking information that lacked any tracking ID in September claiming evidence of delivery. Yet that information never showed delivery to my address and there was no information I could use to take this up with the post office. That is important as they basically told me to take it up with the post office. Mind you I could not, no tracking number was sent, only general info on the delivery that indicated it never got to my address as delivered. September 9 I sent an e mail indicating I wished to either receive a refund or at a minimum a credit for the following season towards another order. I have not heard a word since. Given their track record of getting back to me, some e mails never, it appears I am out a little less the $40. I am guessing I will not hear from them again, but would prefer this resolved. The take it up with the post office response does not bode well for getting them to do the proper thing it seems. This amount of money is not trivial. So best I can do is warn others of potential risks and associated customer response of Sandhill. I would not use them again. If there are problems you probably won't get any help as my e mails in June and July were never responded to even though they regarded my order not arriving! Then they tell me they hadn't heard from me! Yes you did, you just did not respond to my inquiries. Not a good experience, not using them again.

On September 26th, 2020, Darby64 changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following: Update: Sandhill sent a very nice apologetic letter. They explained the e mails did fall through the cracks somehow. They offered me the credit I wanted to use on a future order so all my concerns are addressed for which I am appreciative. So changing my review to positive. Going to try some of their unusual sweet potatoes next summer and see how they do.

On Jan 28, 2020, jimtjepkema (1 reviews) from Minneapolis, MN

I order seeds from Sand Hill knowing that this company is not an ordinary seed company. I don't expect that they will always be able fill my order as quickly as many other seed companies that are not putting all the effort into preserving and saving very rare seeds, roots and poultry. The owners of the company are very clear about this and make an effort to inform their customers that they are not in business to make a profit and when they are very busy trying to maintain all of their rare seeds, roots, and poultry, they might not be able to get out orders rapidly. However, I know Glen and Linda, the owners, through their many years of participation in the Seed Savers Exchange where I have also been a member for many years. Therefore, I understand they are people that will do their best to serve their customers while making their work on saving rare seeds, roots, and poultry their highest priority

On Sep 18, 2019, Dfleming62 (1 reviews) from Helena, MT

Last year was my first ordering from them. They do things a little differently than the seed companies, but they aren't one so that's expected. I ordered around 30 types of flowers and veggie seeds, and everything seemed to be good. I also ordered a variety of sweet potato slips, which showed up in good shape.

On Sep 1, 2019, RareFruit2909 (9 reviews) from Lebanon, OH

I'm a serious hobby gardener and I've ordered vegetable seeds from this company multiple times, especially the last 12 months, and have been delighted with the results. I also ordered sweet potato slips from them several years ago with success although not recently, so my current review will focus on vegetable seeds. Most of the time shipping has been very prompt. Occasionally it was a little slower during busy season or when their website stated their family was dealing with serious medical issues which is understandable. My orders always contained several nice freebies and always arrived in a reasonable amount of time, especially considering that payment is check by mail rather than via the Internet. Most seed pouches contain a generous amount of seeds and are very reasonably priced. This spring I also took advantage of their big seed sale, especially for tomatoes and ordered 100 or so (their selection). They stated that they'll try to send a variety and every single packet I received was a different variety which was awesome. I'm growing as many as I can and have also shared seeds with friends and co-workers who are new to heirlooms and excited to learn that they can save their own seeds. Also, it's worth pointing out that many of the varieties they sell are *extremely* rare with some not being available or extremely difficult to track down from other sources. I've never seen their outfit, but I suspect this means that they're personally growing out and saving most of what they offer which is a laborious task, especially since it appears to be a small family business. Wanting to keep these varieties around is why I choose to support them. We live in a changing world and maintaining genetic diversity is important for local food supplies being able to adapt. Debbie Lebanon, OH

On Aug 27, 2019, Paranormalmike (1 reviews) from Decatur, GA

I have only ordered seeds. I ordered winter of 2019 in fact. The very week they stated that they were taking new orders. I will start with the negatives. They are slow to ship. However, it should be understood considering their situation. It's not a business as much as a preservation mission. They require you to send via mail, a printed order form with payment. It seems inefficient and may be disconcerting when your payment has cleared and there is literally no electronic shipping tracking available. The catalog is not always updated before shipping starts. However, my experience was positive despite this. I have only ordered once. I found them because I was on a mission to find more varieties of Lima beans. They have an astounding variety of beans offered. The fact that not all varieties are offered every year is a good sign I think. I feel that means they are more careful about cross pollination. I also wanted heirloom corn that would survive Atlanta's crazy spring weather and avoid attempting to silk in the middle of summer-when humidity breeds leaf molds. They also have a great corn variety. I found early varieties that could be started early in spring when night temperatures were in the 50s. I started with a relatively small order because I wasn't sure about snail mail order form and check way of doing things but my order was filled in about a month time and am pleased. I ordered in winter so, winter weather in rural Iowa is going to be problematic on shipping period. I would remind customers to remain patient. I am a southern gardener so I do not have short growing season constraints that northern gardeners do. So, I can afford to be patient. The varieties I planted this year performed exceptionally well. The germination rate was mixed. But I intend to save seeds. Perhaps the age of seeds was a factor in germination. I literally only signed up to offer an honest opinion and to mention that negative reviews are helpful. In fact, positive reviews in other zones may be misleading. I feel that the growing season window is an important consideration when ordering from Sandhill.

Company representative comment on August 30, 2019:
On Aug 30, 2019 9:41 AM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

Thank you for taking the time to provide some constructive comments to help us serve people better. We greatly appreciate hearing from customers on items that we may sometimes overlook. First, we do require orders to come in by US mail for two reasons. The first is that we strongly support our postal service, as while seed and plants are able to be shipped by other carriers, we can only ship our day old poultry by the USPS and with less and less volume of mail they have to charge more and more to break even and our poultry shipping costs rise substantially every year The second reason is that we are still very uncertain about website security and most certainly do not want any of our customer's information compromised. We are looking into this issue and may make some adjustments to our ordering process in the next couple of years. Our first goal is to get photos and more historical information on our website.

We sincerely apologize for the long delay in shipping your order. I checked our records and it arrived in mid-January just prior to the onset of a horrible long winter when we had much snow, wind and cold and, in fact, had no mail delivery for 4 days one week. I am a public school teacher and we did not have school for 8 days during that period of time. It was all we could do to keep our poultry pathways open and do chores each day. Once the weather returned to Iowa's winter normal we got back to a week or less turn around. Our goal is to cut that turn around down even more.

I am very grateful you noticed that we carry many items and that not all things will do well in all areas. We are not a true seed company, we are a germplasm resource. For example we have corn varieties that are adapted to very cool short seasons, some that are for dry deserts, and some that will do well everywhere in normal conditions. While most conventional seed companies only carry varieties that will do well no matter where you are, we do have many that are only good for certain areas We will continue to provide that information more and more in the future. We try to always list a variety's strengths and weaknesses. We are not trying to sell you something. We want you to be looking for something when you find us.

The last thing is it is very hard to predict seed variety's demand and keep a proper seed supply. As we grow around 80% of the varieties of seed we sell, we cannot simply order from a supplier when we run out. Most all conventional seed companies get their seed from a supplier and, as supply runs low, order more. We are not simply a repackager of seed. We grow much of our seed, which means we plant it by hand, weed it by hand, harvest by hand, clean the seed by hand, sort it out by hand and do the work here on our farm.

On Aug 5, 2019, DennisH (1 reviews) from Pottstown, PA

Posted on July 17, 2019, updated August 5, 2019 Posted on July 11, 2019, updated July 17, 2019 Posted on June 27, 2019, updated July 11, 2019 I have ordered seeds, sweet potato slips and poultry from Sand Hill and have been very pleased with every transaction. Their online catalog is a wealth of information. Many of their offerings are literally available from no where else. Sand Hill Preservation Center is unlike most other companies. Their reason for existing is not to make a lot of money, but to ensure the continued availability of unique, and often vanishing, genetic stocks. We have such a huge selection of heirloom seeds available on the internet now that it is hard to imagine that is was not always that way. 30 years ago, many of the popular, heirloom varieties were virtually extinct, replaced by commercial hybrids and plant protected varieties. Sand Hill and a few other visionary people saved many varieties, and we all owe them our thanks and support.

On July 11th, 2019, DennisH added the following: The people complaining about Sand Hill's service did not read their mission statement and "about" pages. They should never have ordered if they were not willing to abide by the company's policies. Sand Hill Preservation Center is great at what they do, and they make no pretense that they can handle every request. Read about them thoroughly before you decide to order from them. If you decide to work with them, you will be very happy with their service. If you think the world must revolve around you, then you really should go elsewhere and not bother with Sand Hill.
On July 17th, 2019, DennisH added the following: I have been a customer longer than this Jimmy person and have placed many more orders with Sand Hill than he has. I have no problem with him not wanting to be a customer any more, he is obviously too impatient to be a good Sand Hill customer. What I do have a problem with is him trying to poison others and suppress the opinions of people with more experience than he has, just because he doesn't agree with me.
On August 5th, 2019, DennisH added the following: 1Jimmy12, by your own admission, 80% of the customers are delighted with Sand Hill service. Given that customers are far more likely to post bad reviews, the percentage of satisfied customers is probably much higher. Why tell people not to buy from Sand Hill when the vast majority of customers are satisfied? That doesn't make sense to me. If you are embarking on some hot-headed, personal vendetta, that seems even more reason for normal people to ignore your reviews.

On Aug 2, 2019, 1Jimmy12 (1 reviews) from Gibbon, MN

Posted on July 12, 2019, updated August 2, 2019 Posted on July 10, 2019, updated July 12, 2019 Posted on June 25, 2019, updated July 10, 2019 I have tried using Sand Hill Preservation Center several times to get garlic bulbils and sweet potato slips. NEVER has it been a good or timely experience. I have ordered from Sand Hill Preservation several times and even told them when I need things by and STILL had to wait every time more than a MONTH past when I said I needed them by and that was a month or MORE from when they were shipping them. IF you can get anyone to answer emails or the phone they are rude and argumentative. They have cashed my check over a month ago and I STILL HAVE ZERO from them this year and in years past it has taken a month or more longer to get anything from them from when they say they are shipping and other places have quit shipping those items. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH SAND HILL PRESERVATION EVER!!!! PISS POOR place to do anything with

On July 10th, 2019, 1Jimmy12 added the following: Sand Hill Preservation Center just LIED in their response. It is a LIE that I said or feel every order should be sent on the same day. That is an idiotic statement. 1) What I DID do when I made my order and it was inline with what Sand Hill Preservation Center SAID on their Website on WHEN they would start shipping sweet potato slips and I said in my order that I needed them by June shipping date that they had on their website which stated they were sending them starting june. So when they had NOT sent anything over 6 weeks from my order which was the 1st part of MAY and I had enclosed WHEN I needed them by they should have done one of TWO THINGS like a PRUDENT PERSON or PRUDENT Honorable Business would have DONE. Either sent from what they DID have from my order (since in his response to my complaint it indicates that what I ordered was up just small) OR they should have returned my payment. 2) Where did I say anything about them Keeping my Money in my complaint NO WHERE. 3) I DID NOT contact them Daily!!!! I have the same emails they do. 4) They are leaving out what was really stated in emails and pulling a word or two that fits his response. 5) I NEVER threatened to put them out of business that is just a stupid thing to say. Again them forming things in their own mind and not READING what was really said. 6) I NEVER said I HATED them EVER and again this is something HE is doing to sensationalize his response and try to smear me and discredit my complaint. 7) ALL three options I gave them are all three possible and the One about sending my Money back to me Via Western Union is the best. I do not trust them any longer based on the LIES his wife told him and the COMPLETE lies he has said on here. He was to either send me cash with notarization Or . Send What I ordered so I would have what I had wanted and could do what I was going to do and that was to keep a plant or two back for my own replication as I had TOLD HIM so I would not have to deal with them again or look elsewhere for the same thing which this year is WAY too late to do. OR Send my Cash via Western Union to a Dollar Store near where I live (I drove by it yesterday and its a Dollar General store by Name but its the only store/place that does Money transfers within 20 miles of where I live by road. 8) He says their goal is to educate. Well when in a business dealing when the question is NOT to educate anything you say that wants to go around sending you what you ordered even when you said on your website when you were going to be sending the next of that product is an EXCUSE and frankly not educating. I have grown several items in the past and in past business ALWAYS sold only what I had and NEVER put up what I did not have. Even when people tried to pre order I didn't allow for that. And I have even sold garlic to people in Alaska to plant and ALWAYS set my time from when I announced what I had for sale and the latest I would ship to them and NEVER ONCE had a problem. Honorable and PRUDENT people and businesses do things in a way that make sense and that you do not come up short in so you can honor what you have said or ship in a timely manner what you sold. HE makes it sound like I do not want this done with when in FACT in EVERY email from the time HE sent me his 1st email with a lie about me and decided to tell me he was returning my money I have remained consistent until the last email to him and in that I only added in response to how he will make things right with me. I added send me my order OR send my My MONEY via the Dollar Store and listed what town its in and what state. So far he has REFUSED ALL of this!!!
On July 12th, 2019, 1Jimmy12 added the following: Funny how pfrutescens And DennisH BOTH within a couple days of complaints being made about what I have to assume are a network of personal friends of the owners of Sand Hill Preservation are out trying to discount complaints. Where are WEEDS being sent either instead of or mixed in WITH a part of anything on their webpage? They discount the other complaints in the same way. Those that didn't get responses back to emails or calls Like I have read in multiple other complaints on the net. They do not HOLD Sand Hill Preservation to ANY level of Professionalism and are directly attacking the peoples complaints by now saying this and that on same or similar things that the complainants have made. This is NOT RIGHT. People have a RIGHT to hear our complaints so they can make their own decisions on weather to do business or not with Sand Hill Preservation. And they have NO RIGHT to dis us on what we have complained about weather THEY like it or not. Makes me think that they are personal friends and or investors of Sand Hill Preservation. And if this is true then Sand Hill Preservation must have a real problem business wise if people are trying run interfearance for them and okay the LIES that Sand Hill has made at least on their post to my complaint.
On August 2nd, 2019, 1Jimmy12 added the following: DennisH going around trying to discount what people say about Sand Hill Preservation Center. This last Sat. 27 Jul 2019 the owner rather than wiring my money to me decided to call the police to try to intimidate me. I was told by the Police that they found a Dollar General store in Winthrop that Sand Hill could wire my 48 bucks cash to. I told the police I have been telling them that for three weeks. As OF 1 AUG 2019 Sand Hill has NOT complied with what he was told to do by Police and has been ignoring Emails and threatening me. Based on this NO ONE should ever buy from this place. Esp. Animals and anything with potatoes in the name. 1 in 5 of their reviews are negative and all for the same reasons.
Company representative comment on July 9, 2019:
On Jul 9, 2019 9:01 PM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

We are very careful to post on our website our shipping dates for sweet potato plants and try, on a weekly basis, to update as to the current shipping status. No way can we ever guarantee an exact date and time for such a temperamental product. We do the best we can to try to estimate when we think they will sprout and when we can start shipping. May of 2019 was exceptionally cloudy and had rain on more than 20 plus days. The plants (slips) were slow to begin forming. We informed everyone of the delay on the News and Updates page on our website. This person feels we should ship everybody's plants on the same day, which is theoretically impossible because we would need to hire a huge number of people who could only work one day a year. We would also have to make sure all 225 varieties sprouted at the same time, which with the diversity of types would be physically impossible. We cannot do miracles, we can only do the best we can. It is very unfortunate this person does not understand we could not produce the product by the time that he wanted them as some of the varieties of purple sweet potatoes were just starting to sprout and produce slips on our FINAL day of our regular season of shipping. We never intended on taking his money and promptly refunded him the next day by check. He refused to accept our check and demands cash. We will not send cash through the mail and have been advised not to do so by multiple sources including law enforcement. We receive daily (sometimes twice daily) threats, accusations and name calling e-mails from this person. We've been called anything from incompetent to dumb as a box of rocks. He accused us of trying to get his bank account information because we ask for payment by check or money order. None of this is justified criticism. He rages on and on on a daily basis threatening to put us out of business yet we have committed no crime and we promptly refunded his money as the season ended when we were not able to send him all of what he wanted. He goes into great detail the hatred he has for so many things and so many people and has decided to take it out on us this time. We are incredibly sorry that he has such built up hatred towards so many things and so many people while he will attempt to do everything he can to put us out of business. He cannot stop us from continuing on with our mission of preserving and maintaining rare and endangered vegetables and poultry. We will continue on with this process of saving this material for as long as we are physically able. While he may try to make it impossible for us to distribute this stuff to others, we will always try to make it available to those people who are sincerely seeking this rare material. Our goal and mission is to educate people and preserve rare and unique genetic material. Our only hope for this whole situation is that someone can reach out to him and show him that there's something else in this world other than hate and violence and that he can come to some peace with all of this.

On Jul 3, 2019, YvonneMal (13 reviews) from Waymart, PA (Zone 5b)

Good Idea ... Poor Execution! 2nd time ordering potato slips from Sand Hill Preservation. I understand weather, but a business must make contingencies. Greenhouse comes to mind. 1st time, received only after following-up with exactly 3 months to go in growing cycle. Good slips. I unfortunately chose some "mid-seasons" which resulted in skinny unpeelable tubers. This time, submitted order mid-April, and received order July 1st after following-up with only 3 months to go in growing cycle. Ordered ALL "early" varieties. See, I know my weather, BUT Sand Hill knows sweet potatoes /S. Owing to that, it sent me some slips with a single root and others with "no" roots. Ordered seven varieties: Beauregard ... received 19. Other 6 were weeds ... young wild mustard weeds, Sinapis arvensis. Japanese ... received 6 some of which were rotted and came apart in my hand. Ordered 12. BTW ... all bundles included some sort of weeds and/or grass __added the rooty look. Many of the roots grew through the paper towel. Purple and Sumor ... substituted for Dingess Purple (early/mid-season) and Hidry (mid-season). Looking forward to digging skinny unpeelable sweet potato tubers again /S. Substitutes are usually SIMILAR, thereof. Feeling cheated, I was going to forego the loss of slips, but I cannot ignore the substitution of "mid-season" for "early." *hangs head* Thanks for the never to be used "20% off a 2020 sweet potato order". "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." You don't get a third chance!

On Apr 14, 2018, pfrutescens (6 reviews) from Havertown, PA

I've ordered vegetable seeds from Sand Hill for a couple of years, and I've always been very satisfied. Yes, the ordering experience harks back to an older way of life, and it's not the instant gratification/digitally trackable experience that we've become used to. And you do need to do a little of your own research, since their website doesn't have big, glossy photos of the plants. That said, I usually know what I want anyway, and when I don't order during the busiest times of the year, it doesn't take that much longer to receive my seeds than it does from someone with a cutting-edge e-commerce site, even though I have to send a physical order form in the mail with a check or money order. They clearly state how they process orders and run their business, so I don't order from them if I'm in a hurry to get my seeds, and I try to be patient when I e-mail them. They've always responded, but sometimes it takes a few days. So when I have the time to plan ahead a little, I gladly order from them. I'm happy to be supporting the important work they do preserving genetic diversity and heirloom/heritage varieties. Don't let the old-fashioned ordering process make you nervous; they run an honest business with a great selection, and their seed is always clearly dated and fresh. I've had excellent germination from their seed, and good result from plants grown from their seed.

On Feb 17, 2016, jimwatershed (7 reviews) from Saint Augustine, FL (Zone 8b)

While I filled out my order form in mid-January, I didn't get it in the mail until February 5. I got my seeds on February 13, which was a faster turnaround than the two companies from which I had ordered online! And, they had a variety of squash (Tahitian Melon) that I had been wanting to try since I was 9 years old, and that 'packet' was probably close to a 1/4 oz of seed, which is a premium size these days. So I'm very pleased.

On Jul 14, 2015, Crazysweets (4 reviews) from York, ND

I ordered sweet potatoes from them this year. I was so happy with how they arrived. I had ordered from another company in the past and they were dried up and dead on arrival. These were nicely package and still had moisture in the paper towel. They were leafed out and most have taken well to be transplanted. Quick arrival, after sending off order. Will order from again.

On Feb 2, 2015, TreeLady3 (1 reviews) from Palmyra, NY

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.

On Jun 21, 2014, pcarlton (1 reviews) from Los Altos, CA

I ordered sweet potato slips from them. They arrived quickly and in good condition. I am excited to watch them grow. I will definitely order from them again.

On May 21, 2014, lakenvelder (10 reviews) from Chapman, KS

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 (12 reviews) from Igo, CA (Zone 9a)

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 Apr 2, 2014, laurieeirual (12 reviews) from Boston, MA (Zone 5b)

Gosh, I'm surprised to see negative reviews, but then I've only ordered seeds from them. Their seeds are excellent, with very fair prices and interesting varieties. Check them out!

On Mar 12, 2014, sdkerr (1 reviews) from Beach, ND (Zone 4a)

This was a great experience. I love the genetic diversity that Sand Hill offers. Also, ordering from their catalog reminds me of the days before internet. It feels much more personal.

On Feb 17, 2014, Lovenatives (3 reviews) from Nokesville, VA

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 30, 2013, Jonelles (1 reviews) from WARNER SPRINGS, CA

I placed an order from Sandhill for 7 Dorking chicks and 18 Asst Heavies. My first shipment contained 4 Dorking chicks, and 20 Assorted. They arrived right on time, and although they were all alive at time of receipt, many looked weak and ill. I immediately got them into the brooder and added some vitamins and electrolytes to their water, as well as sugar for energy - thinking they were probably stressed from shipping. I notified Sandhill right away by email. By that evening, over half the chicks were dead, and by the next morning, almost all of them were. I filled out Sandhill's shipping form that day and sent it in, requesting a replacement shipment. A few weeks later I received my replacement shipment of 21 chicks ( which, according to Sandhill themselves is not enough to keep them warm during shipment ). This time, 2 were dead on arrival, and the rest were weak and stumbly. Again, I notified Sandhill by email immediately. I added antibiotics to their water this time. By the next morning, many more had died. I filled out Sandhills form again, and also emailed again to inform them of the deaths. I wound up with 12 live chicks out of both shipments, only 3 Dorkings. I've emailed numerous times, and either get no answer to my email, or a return email asking who I am ( even though my order number has been on every email, as well as my name ). I've tried to be very pleasant, and even suggested they either just give a credit for the dead birds towards an order next summer, or replace the credit amount with seeds of some sort, if they think that there is a problem with shipping chicks out to California. I've received no answer to my request. I have to add that during the same time period as these shipments from Sandhill, I also received 2 shipments from Welp Hatchery and had no problems with those ( lost 1 chick out of almost 100 ). Again, different breeds and some even shipped from the same state. They were all raised in the same type of brooder system, with the same feed and water ( although the last order from Sandhill were raised in my back bedroom so I could watch them closer ). I understand that it may be a problem with shipping, or that the chicks were chilled during shipment. Both are out of my control, and I understand that Sandhill can't control all aspects of shipping either. However, I notified them of the problems right away, filled out and mailed in their shipping report form immediately, and emailed them many times- with all the information possible- asking them to resolve this, and I've been completely ignored. This isn't the way to treat customers, if you want them to remain customers. I understand they are a small operation, but if you are selling to customers you ARE a business and need to handle problems as they arise, not just ignore them.

On Nov 25, 2013, NDFrost (1 reviews) from Norwich, ND (Zone 3a)

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.

On Jul 30, 2013, neveraain (1 reviews) from Parrish, FL

I have never been so unhappy with a gardening company. I have been trying to order sweet potatoes from them for 3 years. You have to place your next year order the year before, to have a chance of receiving your order. In that year you have no idea of knowing if you will receive your order or not, no email saying your order will be sent or anything saying that it wont. You just have to wait till your check is returned to you in the mail, or if you get your sweet potatoes. The woman that handles the customer service dept. is the most unfriendly, unhelpful person I have ever had to deal with. You absolutely hate calling there. I understand that this is a small company and they give excuses why they have such poor customer service, but enough is enough. If you could order on line, then they could cut off the ordering when they are out of potatoes, but because they only take orders by mail, they have no way of controling how many orders they accept. So they just accept all the orders and make you wait till planting time to find out it you actually get your order or not. And then it's too late to get them from another nursery. They also don't give you planting instructions. Save your time and order from someone else.

Company representative comment on August 4, 2013:
On Aug 4, 2013 8:50 PM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

We are sorry that this person is so upset. It has always been our wishes that each and every person that orders from us takes the time to read our introduction page and what we are capable of doing. We are very upfront and open with outlining our limitations and what we can and cannot do. First, we are not set up as a business with a customer service department as we are set up for the primary purpose of genetic preservation. We do not operate as a business where sales of a particular variety dictate its continued place in our catalog. We operate with the principle that if after we have grown and evaluate a variety and it makes it to our catalog then it is worthy to stay there until someone out there sees its worth. I will reference all things in this rebuttal to sweet potatoes as that seems to be the main concern. We started offering sweet potatoes as the collection grew back in 1993. At first the only interest was in the 10 or so common commercially available ones. We started offering assortments and including what we thought were worthy varieties for free. We hoped to educate about and perpetuate the varieties as well. Times have changed and so have the demands. Varieties that were looked at with disdain and disgust in 1993 such as Korean Purple, Frazier White and Ivis White Cream are now heavily sought after and, we are also grateful to see, starting to be picked up and sold by other sources. It was and still is not our intent to be the sole source for all of the varieties we maintain. We wanted to expand the locations that can grow decent good tasting varieties and we have accomplished that as we have heard success stories from nearly every state - many from gardeners who had been told by their extension service that they should not waste their time as they would not grow in their location. We have many pictures and testimonials of their successes when they followed our instructions and tried some of these less common varieties.

We currently maintain 226 varieties of sweet potatoes which we grow out in the field each summer and in addition maintain a plant in a pot in a greenhouse to act as a backup incase of field losses. Each of these varieties has its own unique qualities as to any one of the number of the following things such as flesh color, skin color, soil preference, time before roots start forming, flesh dryness or moistness, insect tolerance, and many other factors too numerous to mention here. The big problem is they are not all the same and the majority of folks today have trouble understanding that each one acts and does things differently. Taking orders online would not solve this problem . I will explain this later. Each variety sprouts and grows differently and if we were set up as a true business where our goals were profit and customer satisfaction then we would easily eliminate over 200 of these from out list and focus on the ones we know will constantly be the same and produce a huge amount of slips to make sure we get to each and every customer ASAP. I most certainly do not fault the large commercial outlets that focus on the top 10 common commercial types for these reasons. I fully understand while over the years they were excited to introduce such varieties as Carolina Ruby, Hernandez and Travis only to yank them a few years later. All of these and many others that have disappeared over the years are great for many reasons but all are tough to get a reliable slip crop from to meet the demands of today’s anxious society. This person’s negative comments clearly show the most logical business minded thing we could do is simply stop selling sweet potato slips or limit it to the ones we could guarantee will always be there ASAP. Please take the time to read our goals and mission and see that that is not how we operate. We clearly state our purposes and do not intend to give false hope to anyone about what we can and are able to do.

Here are some simple facts about just a few variables in this collection we maintain. First example. Camote Morado: same number of roots to start slips from this year as last. Last year that amount of roots under the same conditions produced over 400 slips, many more than this variety had requests for. This year we barely got 15 slips, from the same amount of roots in the same conditions. I keep intense records and would have thought we would have had the same number of slips and even if we took orders online how could we have stopped the process when the roots are not started until the last week in April and we could have easily passed the 15 slips we got months before. Example two: We have learned some varieties are heavy slip producers and some are not. Myanmar Purple for example is a very late sprouter. It takes a long time to get it to break dormancy and start producing slips, then it only sends up slips from the starting roots once and promptly rots. Ginseng Red on the other hand breaks dormancy easily and constantly produces slips that can be harvested every few days over a 3 month period of time. Each root on Myanmar Purple produces about 5 -6 slips. Ginseng Red roots of the same size produce 50-100 over their life time and maybe more. Okinawan, another popular variety, will barely produce 2-3 slips per root for me. I realize it is adapted to a much milder climate.

I simply do not know how to explain the challenges with offering so much material with all of the variables involved. We desperately try our hardest to reach each and everyone but we cannot control everything and it is surely not like seeds where you can weigh or count your starting amount and clearly know when you are sold out. We cannot predict in March exactly to a number how many of each slip we will have and suddenly stop the whole process. It also greatly depends upon what a person orders. An order that comes in May 25 might get sent out way before an order that comes in January 1 if the May 25 order had varieties that no one else ordered and they are sprouting. Our order filling process is, has been and always will be to start with the first order received in the office and work down through the numbers as the varieties have sprouted. We do not bump orders because they are too large or too small. We treat everyone the same and work with the slips that are available that day.

There is really nothing more we can do differently and still maintain our collection. We have taken on this venture to preserve this material because the USDA does not maintain an active field grown collection. It is all in tubes and when the tubes get contaminated the variety is discarded. The Seed Savers Exchange has been lukewarm and passive on maintaining the collection as there is a lot of work and expense involved and it does not fit in with their facilities. We are trying to back up our collection with Duck Creek Farms to make sure this material is still available in the future.

We do not advertize to try to promote and take on more than we can do. We do not produce a glossy catalog with flowery words to entice you to order. We simple state the pluses and minuses when we can and stick to scientific facts or results of our experiments. We do not get involved in the flavor issue . My wife and I have opposite tastes in sweet potatoes so one she gives an A, I might give a C and vice versa. The simplest and most logical “business” decision we could make would be to stop offering sweet potato slips altogether. It is very frustrating for us to try and get this material out there and made more accessible and then to constantly be yelled at and told how incompetent we are. We clearly state that our slips are all started here in our field in Iowa, grown from roots from our farm here in Iowa and we cannot start shipping them any sooner than May 25 and when you start getting yelled at as early as March 18 (yes, I was home from my teaching job because of an ice storm) when I answered the phone to obscenities about why the person had not yet received their slips. They had not read any of the information we provide and thought they needed to plant them at the same time they planted their regular potatoes and they always did that Saint Patrick’s Day.

Our idea of Customer Service is not to be on the receiving end of screaming and yelling because someone has not understood the limitations we have clearly spelled out. We are dealing with living material that is totally dependent upon the weather more so than many in today’s world realize. Our idea of customer service is to provide an information filled catalog and website and enclose proper instructions with the order and then help those who have further questions that are unique to their situation. We enjoy helping people and spend many hours doing such. Unfortunately in today’s world the idea of customer service is to allow the customer to yell, intimidate and threaten you and then you give them anything they want. We, however, strive to help customers that have had issues with shipping or variety choices or crop growing issues as the season progresses, but we do not respond positively when we are yelled at, called stupid and incompetent because it is May 26 and the person feels they are being wronged because they have yet to get their plants.

Our goals have been, are and will continue to be to provide the serious person access to rare and unique genetic material and continue to preserve the rare germplasm for future generations. We have become fully aware there are some who will not read anything we print about what we can and cannot do and become frustrated at “our lack of customer service”. We feel the problem lies in the fact that these people have not completely read and understood all of the information given in our catalog and website. We will continue to do what we do to the best of our ability and will continue to help people with their questions as best we can.

On Jul 2, 2013, natedbrbr (2 reviews) from Franklin, TN

Bad customer service. No confirmation of order receipt. Just got word my check is being returned today, no explanation of why in response to email I sent a week ago. I understand they're running a farm but people do that and manage to at least contact their customers. Wish I'd known earlier - now I need to find somewhere else to get sweet potato slips. Won't be ordering here again.

On Apr 3, 2013, TanyainNH (1 reviews) from Strafford, NH

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 (6 reviews) from Mulvane, KS (Zone 6b)

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 (1 reviews) from West Lafayette, IN

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!

On Jan 5, 2013, pryz84 (1 reviews) from Rock Falls, IL

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.

On Dec 20, 2012, Gypsi (2 reviews) from Fort Worth, TX

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.

On Sep 7, 2012, ct3312 (1 reviews) from Ashland, WI

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. Todd

On Jul 24, 2012, twoisone (1 reviews) from Westfield, IN

My experience is pretty much the same as a lot of the other negative feedbacks regarding sweet potato orders with condescending customer service and last minute notification that they cannot fill the order. In March I could not get a return email when inquiring about two varities of potatoes. Early April I placed my order. May 26 I receive my confirmation letter stating my order would be shipped by June 25. The problem here is they do not state in the catalog or in this letter that you could be out of luck if there is a crop failure, and that didn't occur to me. I assumed with this letter we were good to go and my slips would be on the way, so I did not order with anyone else. June 29th I got my check back with a letter saying they can't fill the order because the demand was tremendous and that they were already sold out in early April. I called and left a message about ordering something else but did not get a call back. I sent an email July 21st about being unhappy with their lack of customer service and asked if they were already sold out, why did they not return my check immediately so I could order with someone else. NOW I get a response with a nasty and sarcastic email from Mr. Drowns telling me that "he's sorry I don't understand they are not super human and cannot just snap their fingers or turn a crank and produce more of a product." They had crop death with some of the old standbys and they were not aware of this before the letters went out. Yikes! The letter I received with my return check said nothing about crop failure, but rather the demand was tremendous and that early April they were sold out of the regular season slips. There is nothing in the catalog about receiving a confirmation letter does not necessarily mean you're going to get your order, so you might have a back up plan. However, after saying that he's tried very hard to explain to me how things work and I still seem to think they can just make plants appear, he is offering to send me my 2012 order for free in 2013.

On Jul 20, 2012, 3critterfarm (1 reviews) from Gardiner, ME

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!

On May 9, 2012, Sherilou (23 reviews) from Panhandle Gulf Coast, FL (Zone 8b)

Their seeds had an excellent germination rate and they grew into gorgeous, healthy, productive plants. Their prices are still great... so is their postage and handling.

On May 1, 2012, Brokenroadranch (2 reviews) from Claremore, OK

I think this company is great! They actually sell peanuts! And sweet potatoes! Two things I can't get from Baker Creek! And to the people who complain about customer service. I have a feeling you aren't the most pleasant people to deal with either! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

On Apr 23, 2012, emi2 (3 reviews) from Forest Hill, MD

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.

On Feb 23, 2012, HoobieSchott (1 reviews) from Bertram, IA

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. -hoobie

On Nov 10, 2011, bella_trix (4 reviews) from Montgomery County, PA (Zone 6b)

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 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.

On Sep 25, 2011, Soulsecho (2 reviews) from Baltimore, MD

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.

On Sep 25, 2011, Patty4853 (1 reviews) from Pierson, FL

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 (1 reviews) from Saint Helena, CA

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'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.

On Jul 27, 2011, Janna (28 reviews) from Mahwah, NJ (Zone 6a)

I placed an order with this company in February and was so excited about my new sweet potato collection! The company offers many varieties and I was really looking forward to it. In mid-May the order never showed up, so I called and was re-assured that the order will ship soon after a small delay. The woman was not very friendly on the phone, she blamed the delays on the bad weather. I agreed to wait and did not order my potatoes elsewhere (what a mistake!). Then I called again few weeks later, and this time a long recording was re-assuring people that their orders will ship no later than "next week." After July 4th I got the sinking feeling that I am not getting anything from this company. In a week or so I received a letter saying that my order will not be fulfilled and my check was returned. Well, thanks! So I will not grow sweet potatoes this year at all because of Sand Hill Preservation Company's procrastination practices. I would appreciate if you at least let me know earlier that you can't ship the potatoes, at least I would have had a chance to order elsewhere. Now what? Why businesses do this?? Please have respect for your customers and be honest with them upfront instead of holding their money and making false promises that you can't fulfill. I am very disappointed, and what a shame, since they have such a large collection. I almost recommended your company to my gardening friends, now I certainly won't.

Company representative comment on July 28, 2011:
On Jul 28, 2011 9:22 PM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

We are sorry for your disappointment, but as we clearly state in our catalog and on our website, our slips are started here in Iowa, in the field. Therefore, we are totally dependant upon the weather as to whether we will get a crop. As an avid weather observer for over 40 years, I felt that the cold spell would not linger as long as it did and delay the slips' growth. All indications from previous years, with the heat building in the Southwestern United States that it would eventually spread northward and we would finally have normal growing conditions. We had enough roots bedded had we had normal weather to produce enough slips. When we did not get normal weather by the middle of June, it became a crisis situation for us. We attempted to keep people updated with messages on the "News and Updates" section of our website and via messages on our voice mail. We did all that we humanly could to try to reach every person, but we realized that we would not be able to please everyone. What this person recognizes is the fact that we do have a huge collection, of which it is our goal and mission to spread as many varieties around the United States to as many people who have never had the opportunity to grow sweet potatoes but can with some of the unique varieties that we have. There is a reason why the large scale producers only offer a few varieties, because those are the ones that are predictable sprouters and produce large numbers of slips so that they can guarantee a crop. We try not to focus on those varieties, but instead, focus on ones with unique characteristics and genetic diversity. The unfortunate situation is many of these are not predictable sprouters and in some cases produce very few sprouts. We never ever advertise or try to convince people to rely totally on us for their sweet potato crop. We, instead, prefer to stick to our mission as being a source of genetic diversity for those who are adventurous enough and patient enough to deal with the uniqueness of some of the ones in our collection. We wish this person well on the search for sweet potatoes for 2012.

On Jul 18, 2011, lynnward (1 reviews) from Madill, OK

I placed an order for sweet potatoes very early this year along with a seed order. There should have been plenty of time for the company to get the sweet potatoes sent in a timely manner, at least in time for planting in my area. I recieved a letter stating that the rest of my shipment would be sent ( the sweet potaotes). I waited and waited, the optimal time for planting passed, I emailed and got no response, I called their number and the message there stated that "if you had not gotten a confirmation letter you probley would not get your order', I asked at that time ( left a message, as they do not actually answer their phone or email you back) for my order to be cancelled and requested a refund. I did not recieve my refund as requested and will chalk up my experience with Sandhill preservation center as a waste of money, time and aggrivation. A lot of us work regular jobs and do lots of activities on the side. I imagine that a lot of us would be able to find time to respond to others that had sent us their hard earned money for products we were selling. If they would have called or emailed me and let me know I would have obtained my slips else where. Will not be ordering from them again.

Company representative comment on July 28, 2011:
On Jul 28, 2011 9:07 PM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

We are very sorry for this customer's disappointment over the sweet potato situation. It is extremely difficult for many individuals to understand that our sweet potato slips are grown here in Iowa in the field (not in a greenhouse) and are not drop shipped from the southern states. This is the reason that we are able to offer well over 100 varieties --- because we grow them ourselves. We grow the roots one year and make our starting beds to produce the slips the following April. This year was an exceptionally cold Spring and we were not able to get the slip beds started until the first week-end in May. We did not have very many warm, sweet potato favorable days in the month of May and the cold stretch extended into June. To help explain the process of how sweet potato slips are produced, you place the roots on the ground in 2" x 4" frames and then cover with peat moss. We then soak that down with water and cover with plastic for a couple of weeks until the slips start to show. In normal weather, you can harvest the slips every two to three days and a new crop keeps coming on. Normal sweet potato slip weather is highs in the 80's and lows in the 60's. The perfect temperature seems to be about 90 in the daytime and 70 at night as well as very humid. Sweet potatoes produce very little growth with temperatures below 70 during the day. We had one full week in June when it rarely reached 70 during the daytime and was close to 50 at night and they simply did not produce slips. We indicate in four places what our normal shipping season is - - - in our catalog, on our website, on the order blank, and on the confirmation that is sent when we receive the order. Our normal shipping season is May 25 to June 25. We in no way attempt to deceive the customer that we are able to provide them earlier than that. We, ourselves, here plant ours when our normal shipping season of June 25 is over and before we start shipping the "Season Closeout" specials. This person's order number was in the 400's and was for some varieties that were slower to sprout this year. These varieties were also extremely popular and there were many orders ahead of hers. Her slips were shipped on June 22 and the only communication that we can find from her was a telephone call on June 23 cancelling the order. I attempted to contact her and was told by the person who answered the phone that she did, in fact, receive the slips but not when she wanted them. I am not sure what we can do further when we clearly indicate what our limitations as far as shipping times are.

On Jul 6, 2011, DarkBrownEggs (1 reviews) from Macclenny, FL

*************** The Nightmare from Hell! I ordered 15 Golden Cascade ducks last year so to make sure I got in on a early hatch and early delivery and was told I would get a conformation and possible delivery date by the first week of January, never heard from them. March I contacted them asking about the order and when I could expect the ducks and was told the order hadn't been paid for yet (these were a gift from a person that lost her flock to a bob cat inwhich I was supposed to get) Finally got a hatch date of May 17th and on that day got a call telling me they were shipped, box arrived on May 19th with 5 dead and the smell was like something had been dead for a week which my locale PO can verify. They come home and are put in a warm brooder and with in 24 hours 6 more drop dead (total 11) so I called and left a message and the following Tuesday May 23rd I get a call back saying I would get a full replacement but being other orders need to be filled they didn't know when I would get my replacement ducks so I wrote a very pleasant email and sent a hand written insurance form saying I would gladly take substitutes and gave them 2 other breeds, also said I would take a mixed order of left over ducks after other orders were filled so not to put someone else out of their order and have never to this date heard back about my request for substitutes. I have called every 2 weeks and sent emails asking about a possible mixed shipment and that I did not want to be brooding baby ducks late in the year, actually didn't want to do this twice being they are so messy...never heard back from them until finally after me writing and telling them how horrible they were about customer relations and to send me something so I can be done with them and I promissed to never bother them again with any future orders...I even asked for chicks as a substitute just to be done with this nightmare and finally got a reply saying "There are NO Golden Cascades to send" and thats it... so I replied asking about a substitute and again was ignored again. I sent a very unpleasant email July 1st and get a reply from Glen saying "I haven't read any of your emails but my wife said" blah blah blah and that I have not asked for any substitures or they would have been sent and goes on and one about looking at the stars and smelling the roses and I can't be pleased and lies out of both sides of his mouth just like he has done in his replies here to others that have given them a negative feedback here and I will bet he will do the same after mine but I have every email I sent begging them to please respond and with the same substitute info on every message and nothing. Glen tends to place the blame onto his customers when he is at total faught. Every one I know that has bought from SandHill has had the same experience with waiting on orders and no responce from Linda or Glen. I was ignored by Linda, lied about from Linda and then was told by Glen I was about to get my replacement order but he changed his mind because of the way I wrote them asking for someone there to respond. again, more lies from Glen and Linda....I was told I would have a check by the end of this week July8th, I am willing to bet thats another "checks in the mail LIE" I will NEVER deal with them in any way other then report them to better business and possibly call every state agency to report the sick animals they are sending out to customers....I have since lost another duckling, one was a runt and never grew an inch in over 6 weeks and finally died... As stated I can prove I have sent emails after email asking for mixed or substitutes to take care of getting my replacement. and I have the finale response from Glen saying he never read my emails but: blah blah blah and I expect him to do the same here...How about the truth Glen, for once.

Company representative comment on July 28, 2011:
On Jul 28, 2011 8:50 PM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

We have waited to respond to this posting until we received verification that Mr Higginbotham not only received our check for a total refund, but had actually cashed the check. Now that that has occurred, we are going to present our side of the story with facts and minimal emotion. On December 13, 2010, we received an order from a long time customer of ours for 15 ducklings to be shipped to the above individual. No money was enclosed with this order and, not knowing if it was a surprise gift, we sent the confirmation on January 3, 2011, to the individual that placed the order indicating that we would need payment by January 20 if the order was o.k. as confirmed. On that confirmation, we indicated the first possible ship date of May 17. In the rush of the Spring season, we did not realize that we had not received payment for this order until March 13 when Mr. Higginbotham called wanting to know where his ducks were. We indicated to him at that time that we had not received payment for his order yet. We did receive payment for this order on March 21. On May 17, we shipped him 17 ducklings. On May 19 he received them and 5 were dead. He called the next day and indicated that 11 total had died. At that time when he called we indicated to him that we were very booked up on the breed of ducks he needed replaced and that we would work him in for a reshipment just as soon as we possibly could. With our odd Spring weather that we had, duck fertility did not hold up well and when we were running behind, it became more apparent from his e-mails that he wasn't patient but that he also kept changing the breeds and species that he wanted us to send as replacements. Therefore, on July 2, I sent him an e-mail indicating that I would send him a total refund including postage and indicated that I would pray that he would be able to come to peace with this situation. I then went out to do chores and, over the course of the next 1 to 2 hours he sent 4 e-mails and 3 telephone messages that were filled with filthy language and violent threats against our personhood. The things that he mentioned that he would do to us personally should not be placed in a public forum where children might have access to them. As far as his reference to us as being a nightmare, it is us who has the nightmares wondering if he will show up to carry out those violent acts. We have contacted our County Sheriff's office to alert them of this possibility and were told to call immediately if anything devloped. He has received a complete refund. He was not sent diseased birds. Our flocks are inspected twice a year by a certified veterinarian and we comply with all the rules, testing and guidelines of the NPIP. Therefore, he should have nothing more to say about this issue.

On Jun 13, 2011, purple53 (2 reviews) from Rohrersville, MD

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 11, 2011, miles2go (2 reviews) from Saginaw, MI

My order went out in the mail Feb. 16, received the seeds Mar. 5. Seeds nicely packaged, order complete. Nice freebie seeds included, too. I would definitely order from them again.

On Mar 7, 2011, Moodene (4 reviews) from (Nadine) Devers, TX (Zone 9b)

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 (7 reviews) from Hutto, TX (Zone 8b)

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 (8 reviews) from Irving, TX (Zone 8a)

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 (16 reviews) from Mantua, OH (Zone 5a)

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 (1 reviews) from Oliver Springs, TN (Zone 6a)

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.

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