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Comments regarding Sand Hill Preservation Center

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89 positives
4 neutrals
14 negatives


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Negative Janna
(28 reviews)
On Jul 27, 2011, Janna Mahwah, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

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.

On Jul 27, 2011, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

"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."

Negative lynnward
(1 review)
On Jul 18, 2011, lynnward Madill, OK wrote:

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.

On Jul 18, 2011, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

"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."

Negative DarkBrownEggs
(1 review)
On Jul 6, 2011, DarkBrownEggs Macclenny, FL wrote:

*************** 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.

On Jul 6, 2011, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

"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."

Positive purple53
(2 reviews)
On Jun 13, 2011, purple53 Rohrersville, MD wrote:

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.
Positive miles2go
(2 reviews)
On Mar 11, 2011, miles2go Saginaw, MI wrote:

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.

Positive Moodene
(4 reviews)
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.

Positive dreaves
(7 reviews)
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.

Positive drthor
(8 reviews)
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.

Positive Tabacum
(16 reviews)
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....

Positive JollyRoger
(1 review)
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.

Negative MotherGoose2
(1 review)
On Jun 21, 2010, MotherGoose2 Lobelville, TN wrote:

Posted on June 21, 2010, updated June 21, 2010
I ordered a "Fancy Goose Assortment" in early March- they arrived on June 19th. One was dead, and I recieved 2 White Chinese goslings. No, there's nothing inherently wrong with White Chinese, but they are hardly considered "Fancy", and are not listed as one of the breeds I might possibly get. I'll have to say that I'm more than a little dissappointed with this order- and I will most likely not deal with them again.

On June 21st, 2010, MotherGoose2 added the following:

I was contacted later in the day with a message saying that they intended to send me a partial refund since they didn't send me the breeds I had ordered. He was rather short and accused me of hanging up on him twice- please! In any case, we'll see what kind of refund I get. It will be only established poultry houses from now on- rest assured.
Positive LadyRadagast
(1 review)
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!

Positive VAgardener2
(10 reviews)
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.
Positive DonFromNJ
(5 reviews)
On Apr 26, 2010, DonFromNJ Secaucus, NJ wrote:

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.

Positive Doug9345
(7 reviews)
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.

Positive Missyinbama
(37 reviews)
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!

Positive blueeyeskms
(29 reviews)
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.

Negative m8247
(2 reviews)
On Mar 6, 2010, m8247 Davis, CA wrote:

I have ordered from this company for the past 3 years and while I admire the mission, I have grown less impressed with the customer service over time. I ordered sweet potatoes the first year and those came packed well and performed well. The seeds have also been fine and I really do enjoy the rare varieties they offer. My sweet potato order 2 years ago was not filled due to weather/flooding (understandable), and last year I ordered an assortment package that did not get filled.
While both those circumstances were understandable, my concern is that I find the customer service to be very unprofessional. The website has a bunch of bold, somewhat condescending statements about what not to expect from them. Meanwhile the ordering process is more labor intensive and lacking in communication/updates about orders. Today I pulled them up on the web with my list in hand and after being reminded of their negative tone, I concluded I will shop elsewhere this year.

Positive digly
(2 reviews)
On Feb 9, 2010, digly Mountain View, CA wrote:

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.

Positive chikentrain
(1 review)
On Feb 5, 2010, chikentrain Earlton, NY wrote:

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 !

Positive DonShirer
(16 reviews)
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!

Positive maam
(2 reviews)
On Nov 9, 2009, maam Chester, CT wrote:

this year was my first experience with sandhill. i ordered 60 sweep potato slips to divide among friends, all early or midseason types. they all looked very healthy. three varieties were substitutions, and we received at least 70 slips. my 20 ( 9 varieties) went into big pots on june 15. they had barely doubled by july 13 because of the cool weather. i was able to pick young leaves and tips by early september, and harvested the first week of october. even with 5 plants giving 1/2 to 2 pounds each, the total yield was 80 pounds !! i was extremely pleased, and have already placed my order for next year.
i had some questions about some other vegetables i bought as seeds. glenn was very helpful, did not rush the conversation, and gave me useful, and correct, information. i am happy i have discovered sandhill preservation.

Positive yentzn1
(12 reviews)
On Oct 29, 2009, yentzn1 East Orleans, MA wrote:

I've had great experiences with this company.
This year I ordered korean purple sweet potatoes,and
the slips were the most beautiful and healthy I have
ever seen. Excellent!

Negative containergarden
(8 reviews)
On Oct 27, 2009, containergarden Los Angeles, CA wrote:

We had a very poor experience with Sand Hill Preservation Center sweet potatoes as well as with the staff. We are both Master Gardeners and have successfully grown sweet potatoes before from slips we produced at home from supermarket sweet potatoes. This year we decided to branch out and order a variety of slips from Sand Hill for ourselves and our fellow community farmers. So we put in a reasonably large order with Sand Hill. As a back-up, we bought an organic Whole Foods sweet potato to make slips ourselves. Needless to say, the Whole Food slips produced heavily. However, Sand Hill took more orders than it could reasonably fill, and failed to respond to a series of messages I left concerning the order I had already paid for. When a woman finally responded, she was unpleasant, seeming to blame me for her failure to respond or to satisfy the order. Nevertheless, she petulantly promised to satisfy my order. Although the slips spent no more than two days in the mail, many of the Sand Hill Preservation Center slips were dead on arrival and had to be discarded. We planted those with any sign of life in them, but got only meager harvests from them. Some of the stunted potatoes were clearly diseased, even though sweet potatoes are normally disease-free in southern California, ideal growing country. So we can only assume that the slips themselves were diseased. The way Sand Hill seems to fill orders is to start collecting slips and then wait until they have the full order, which may take a long time. The result is that the earlier collected slips are dead and only the later collected slips are remotely viable. In short, a regrettable expenditure of about $50 for a useless product. Fortunately, we have since located a reliable, responsible, and friendly California supplier of a wide variety of sweet potato slips.

On Oct 27, 2009, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

"On Nov 4, 2009 9:08 PM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

We are very sorry to hear of the poor experience this customer had. This posting on Garden Watchdog is the first that we have heard of this customer's problems with our product. Had they contacted us directly at the time of receipt of the order, we would have immediately sent replacements for what was damaged in shipping. It has been four months since the sweet potato slips were shipped out and this is the first we have heard that there was a problem. As we start our slips in the field here in Iowa, we are at the mercy of the weather and we indicate that both in our catalog and in the "News and Updates" section of our website. We indicated on the website in April that we were all sold out for the season. We attempted to keep people updated on the website with the progress of the slip production. We kept anticipating that warm weather would be forthcoming, but we never had an extended warm period which is needed for the roots to sprout and form slips.

We have never had a case of disease on the slips here at our farm. We do not collect slips and hold them. An order is all pulled at once, carefully labeled, wrapped and packaged for shipping within minutes. We start pulling orders each morning once the dew has evaporated and they are mailed out that same day. Nothing is held once it is pulled.

We regret that this customer did not contact us directly to allow us to make things right with them. Our goal is to spread the diversity of the sweet potato world across the country. As our name indicates, we are a preservation center and therefore are trying to preserve these varieties not send out inferior slips that will not produce. We have many heirloom, regionally adapted varieties that have allowed folks in areas otherwise thought to be non-sweet potato growing regions to harvest many diverse and tasty roots. It is important that folks realize that not all sweet potato varieties will grow the same in all soils. Some like heavy, clay soils. Others like loose sand.

We hope that in the future that others who have problems, concerns or questions about their orders will contact us directly and that we won't have to try to search our records and figure out who has "anonymously" posted here on Garden Watchdog. We can't help someone who will not contact us to discuss their problem.

Glenn and Linda Drowns
Sand Hill Preservation Center"

Positive RickardE
(3 reviews)
On Jul 20, 2009, RickardE Goshen, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have ordered from Sand Hill Preservation Center for a few years now and am very pleased. Glenn and Linda Drowns are a national treasure. I have purchased seeds and sweet potatoes from them. Their tomato selection is larger than any other place I've seen. I ordered several packets of seeds this year and have had excellent germination rates.

A couple of years ago, I bought a sweet potato assortment and had excellent results considering I've never planted sweet potatoes before. Growing instructions were included and made a huge difference. This year I was looking forward to the Northern Special for sweet potatoes but they sold out due to increased demand. Lesson learned? Order earlier next year! I received a refund and a letter that clearly explained the obstacles they faced this year with cool weather and increased demand.

Along with Baker Creek Heirlooms, SHPC is one of my favorite seed companies. I hope they keep doing what they're doing for a long time!

Positive anitar49
(7 reviews)
On Jul 5, 2009, anitar49 Ridgeley, WV wrote:

I decided to try sweet potatoes for the first time this year and was very impressed with the number of varieties offered by Sand Hill Preservation. The order was shipped in the time frame promised and the slips arrived in excellent condition. The instructions included were very helpful. I'll definitely be ordering other items in their catalog next year.

Positive Spriggin
(19 reviews)
On Jun 27, 2009, Spriggin Selma, OR wrote:

I thought I'd give you guys a try this year so I sent in a teeny-tiny order for Amish Paste tomato seeds. They arrived promptly and I got 100% germination. Now they are some of the biggest tomato plants in the garden. Good job and thanks alot.

Negative cityfarmer066
(1 review)
On Jun 27, 2009, cityfarmer066 Addison, IL wrote:

Unlike Most of the people here, I have had a horrible experience with Sand Hill Preservation. First I ordered seeds and a lot of them failed to germinate, They advertise they send more seeds than the 15 they quote, but the pack of okra they sent me had 14 seeds and not a single one germinated, they sent a free pack of flowers and again not a single one germinated.
I ordered Sweet Potatoes in early march and got a confirmation number. Since we have been going through a horrific heat wave I E-Mailed them on June 22 asking when my sweet potatoes would arrive and letting them know if they were not at my residence by the 25th of June it would do me no good to plant them in this High Heat and to cancel the order and refund my money. I received one of the most unprofessional e-mails I have ever received in my life.
I can say this I will never order anything from this company again.I believe they should take a course in customer relations. I guess they think it is ethical to keep my money for three months and not send my order.

On July 10th, 2009, cityfarmer066 added the following:

The people at Sandhill Preservation are whiners, and groaners,. They whine all through their catalog, they set up their rules and regulations for the people who might consider ordering something from them, then they do not abide by the rules and regulations they set up. It's like the old adage "don't do as I do, do as I say" They blame every one and every thing for why they can't keep their word. They do not have the professionalism to deal with the people who are unfortunate enough to order anything from them. They moan and whine about the weather constantly. From my dealings with them they are very negative people. If you order anything from Sandhill Preservation be prepared to be disappointed.
On Jun 27, 2009, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

"On Jun 27, 2009 10:03 PM, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

Upon reading this posting, we were immediately very concerned and started searching our records for someone in Addison, IL. We place all orders once they are filled into files by state and in zip code order. This allows us quick access when a customer calls about an order for any reason. Sometimes they call because they want to know what variety they ordered in a previous year because it did well for them and they didn't keep track of what it was. Because we have such a diversity of material, this allows us to give our customers a little extra help if they forget (for example) which one of the over 600 varieties of tomatoes it was that they ordered. We searched the Illinois state file and found no customer in Addison, IL. The comment also indicated a sweet potato order, which we also checked our sweet potato order list and found no order at all from Addison, IL. We then checked our mailing list to see if we had sent a catalog out and found no listing in Addison, IL. We have no idea who this person is as we have sent no seeds, sweet potatoes, or catalogs to anyone in Addison, IL. In addition, we received no e-mail from anyone in Addision, IL concerning a sweet potato order. That concern being addressed, we must assume that this person lives somewhere else so we will address the concerns that they had.

The first was a shortage of seed in one packet of okra. Our business has grown some to where it is not just the two of us filling packets anymore. We have several very responsible people that help us during the busy season. Since our policy is to only fill five packets of a variety at a time (we do this to keep the seed in proper storage for as long as possible), it is entirely possible that one of our packet fillers accidentally grabbed the wrong measuring spoon when filling that packet. Had the customer contacted us, we would have certainly sent them a new packet of seed plus something complimentary for their trouble. We were not contacted about this situation so, therefore, could not remedy it.

The next concern this person expressed was that a lot of the varieties of seed that they got from us failed to germinate. Seed germination is extremely important to us because we maintain so many varieties that are not available elsewhere. If the germination fails on those, then, in many cases they would be lost to the world. Again, we were not contacted that there were any germination problems, so, therefore, could not help this person.

The sweet potatoes this year have been a challenge. The interest in ordering slips has been three times greater than the previous year. We set orders up with a number as they come in with the explanation (in the catalog itself, in the online catalog, and on the order form) that the slips are not shipped until between May 25 and June 25. Our sweet potato slips are all started here on our farm in Iowa from sweet potatoes grown on our farm here in Iowa. We are totally dependant upon Iowa weather to get these slips sent out to the customers as quickly as possible. We cannot set up our starting beds before the end of April or first of May because it is too cold. Many of the varieties that we maintain require several days of consistently 80+ deg. F weather before they will break dormancy and sprout. The first 16 days of June this year we never reached 80 deg. F. No one could have been more frustrated than we were with day after day of cloudy, cool weather. We are thrilled that we got as many to sprout as we did in that cool weather and are very disappointed that we never got the heat in time to get all of the orders filled within our established dates.

We are in the process now of sending refunds to all those people who didn't get anything with our humblest apologies. We have no intentions of keeping anyone's money when we were not able to supply a product to them. Unfortunately, it does take quite a bit of time to process and mail out all of these refunds. We posted weekly updates on the website (as we indicated in our printed catalog that we would do) to keep our customers informed about the status of the sweet potato orders. It is simply impossible for us to contact each and every customer who places a sweet potato order to let them know the status of their individual order. We did indicate on the "News and Updates" page of our website that confirmations were not sent out after April 1 because of the uncertainty as to whether we would be able to produce enough slips to fill all of the orders. We also indicated that the customers could telephone our office to inquire as to whether we had received their order and to get their confirmation number by telephone.

One or two days of very warm weather speeds up the process just as one or two very cool days slows down the ability to ship out slips. It is impossible for us to give an exact day that an order will ship out just as it is impossible to predict what the exact temperature will be a month from now.

We are very sorry that this customer has so many complaints about their order, but we have not had anyone from Addison, IL contact us either to place an order or about problems with their order.

We would encourage each and every one of our customers to please contact us if they have problems with any seed germination or number of seeds in a packet. We are very concerned about having satisfied customers and will do everything we can to work with each person.

Sincerely, Glenn & Linda Drowns
Sand Hill Preservation Center"

Positive NtheWoods
(5 reviews)
On Apr 29, 2009, NtheWoods (Zone 5b) wrote:

Wow, what a gem Sandhill is. They offer many varieties not offered elsewhere at fantastic prices. They have so many seeds in each packet that we had enough for two years. The germination rate was great, even for the year old seeds. We also ordered some Orpington chicks from them 3 years ago to start our own flock. We still have the best of the original flock as well as their offspring. Thank you Sandhill!

Positive Driftingcowboy
(5 reviews)
On Apr 9, 2009, Driftingcowboy Helenwood, TN wrote:

Ordered bunch of tomato seed. I like dealing with Sand Hill. I order early.

Positive glendamcfadden
(6 reviews)
On Mar 24, 2009, glendamcfadden El Dorado Springs, MO wrote:

I ordered 50 chicks from Sandhill, I got them today (a day earlier than expected!) and they are doing great!!! They sent me 55, 2 passed away during shipping (looked like they just got trampled by they others) They are so healthy and precious, We love them all!! Buy your poultry from Sandhill!!! Loved talking to them, they were very helpful and kind!

Positive greenmulberry
(2 reviews)
On Feb 26, 2009, greenmulberry Iowa City, IA wrote:

I recently received a nice order of seeds from this company. I have to admit I was leery of mailing in an order, as I am used to ordering by internet and getting that instant email from a company.

However, my seeds arrived within two weeks of mailing the order, and everything looked great, and I love the free chard seeds. All of the seeds I have started so far have germinated well.

Positive heirloompumpkin
(4 reviews)
On Feb 7, 2009, heirloompumpkin San Francisco, CA wrote:

My favorite place to buy my seeds. By spending $10.00 there is no shipping cost and always a different packet of free seeds (never the same). They give a generous amount of seeds per packet. Excellent customer service too!

Positive johnsonjrbm
(15 reviews)
On Apr 1, 2008, johnsonjrbm Olympia, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Sand Hill Preservation is one of my favorite seed companies. Their primary goal is genetic preservation, not profits, so they carry a lot of open-pollinated varieties, not just the current popular ones.

I've ordered from them several times, and will again. Their seed counts are very generous, and germination has always been excellent. They are also one of the few seed companies that sell packages of seed for chicken forage.

If you decide to order from them, please do read the information on their website first. Their seed sales are a seasonal business, and since their family farm carries both a large number of open-pollinated plants and a large number of rare heritage-breed poultry, it's best to order seeds a few weeks ahead of your planting time.

I have not yet ordered poultry from them, but will not hesitate to do so when the opportunity arises.

Positive rhomestead
(4 reviews)
On Mar 31, 2008, rhomestead Plattsburgh, NY wrote:

I have been very pleased with Sandhill Preservation Center. My one experience is with poultry. In ordering poultry, one needs to read all their ordering info and understand that they operate quite a bit differently than large commercial hatcheries do. You ask for specific dates. They will call you the evening of the shipment, and only then, whether it is your first, second, or third requested date. It bothers some folks who expect to be told that their chicks are NOT arriving on a certain date. They clearly explain that they call when the ships ARE shipped, and only then.

Heritage breeds of ducks do not lay fertile eggs year round. I wanted ducks last year, in July. Since my first choice only had a few eggs, they filled in my order with my second choice, AND will send a full order of my first choice this spring, with me only paying for the additional shipping.

If you can be flexible and hang loose, you will be very, very happy with the service and quality. And if you ask for breed advice during the winter, they are very good about sharing their expertise.

Positive Harvest_Moon
(2 reviews)
On Mar 11, 2008, Harvest_Moon China, ME wrote:

This company is my hands-down favorite source for heritage breeds of poultry and waterfowl. They also have a stunning variety of heirloom seeds and sweet potatoes. Some of their offerings, which I've found only in their catalog, are very rare and in great need of preservation. Their products are reasonably priced and are of excellent quality. They are a small, seasonal company located in the Midwest. I would highly recommend them!

Positive Big_Red
(11 reviews)
On Jan 28, 2008, Big_Red Bethelridge, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Excellent company to deal with! Received my seeds within a three week period with no back-orders. Will deal with again in the future.

Positive cannaqueen
(19 reviews)
On Jan 27, 2008, cannaqueen Mantua, OH (Zone 5a) wrote:

This company lays out specific guidelines on their expectations for
consumers in their catalog.This family operation is trying to preserve
pure, genetic propagation of plants and birds. This farm is located
in a unique sandy area in Iowa. Must be a wonderful area to experiment and grow many types of plants and birds!. I decided to order some seeds from this company because their prices were
reasonable. Order arrived quickly , with more seeds than I expected!
I also, live in a unique area where people try to grow heirloom seeds
native to the area. My soil is black, carlisle muckland in a conservancy district. The seeds I ordered from them will do great
here! Awesome selection of vegetable seeds.

Positive gardenbumpkin
(7 reviews)
On Jun 10, 2007, gardenbumpkin San Francisco, CA wrote:

Excellent experience! Had no problem in getting the seeds to germinate, prices are good and their S/H is the cheapest.

Oh and they give you more seeds than you paid for and along with a "free" seed packet.

After the first order I sent in my second order and I would buy from them again and again.

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