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Comments regarding Sand Hill Preservation Center

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89 positives
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Positive Happytoo
(1 review)
On Feb 12, 2021, Happytoo Troy, NY wrote:

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. Iím looking forward to trying them. Iíll be starting my onion seeds soon so thank you so much for a beautiful and smooth transaction.

Positive jt6218
(1 review)
On Nov 1, 2020, jt6218 Ridgeville, IN wrote:

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.

Positive Darby64
(1 review)
On Sep 26, 2020, Darby64 Weatherford, TX wrote:

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.
Positive jimtjepkema
(1 review)
On Jan 28, 2020, jimtjepkema Minneapolis, MN wrote:

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

Positive Dfleming62
(1 review)
On Sep 18, 2019, Dfleming62 Helena, MT wrote:

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.

Positive RareFruit2909
(9 reviews)
On Sep 1, 2019, RareFruit2909 Lebanon, OH wrote:

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


Positive Paranormalmike
(1 review)
On Aug 27, 2019, Paranormalmike Decatur, GA wrote:

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.


On Aug 27, 2019, Sand Hill Preservation Center responded with:

"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."


Positive DennisH
(1 review)
On Aug 5, 2019, DennisH Pottstown, PA wrote:

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.
Positive pfrutescens
(6 reviews)
On Apr 14, 2018, pfrutescens Havertown, PA wrote:

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.

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

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.

Positive Crazysweets
(4 reviews)
On Jul 14, 2015, Crazysweets York, ND wrote:

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.

Positive TreeLady3
(1 review)
On Feb 2, 2015, TreeLady3 Palmyra, NY wrote:

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.

Positive pcarlton
(1 review)
On Jun 21, 2014, pcarlton Los Altos, CA wrote:

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.

Positive lakenvelder
(10 reviews)
On May 21, 2014, lakenvelder Chapman, KS wrote:

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.

Positive devinevegan
(12 reviews)
On Apr 15, 2014, devinevegan Igo, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I really enjoy this company's seed catalog and informative website. I ordered lots of Sweet Potatoes and am hoping to get some of them this year. I also ordered some seeds which did take a long time to arrive. That's ok, I ordered ahead of time because I knew this was a small company who fills every order themselves. They were having a special this year on Eggplant seeds, and I ordered several kinds. I also ordered Cotton, and Peanuts. All of them germinated except I had 0% germination on 'Rosita' and 'Chinese White Sword' not sure why this is. They were planted 2 to 3 seeds per cell in the same tray as the other Eggplants which all germinated without problems. I will look into how to conatact them about this. I will update my review when my Sweet Potatoes arrive as well.

Positive laurieeirual
(12 reviews)
On Apr 2, 2014, laurieeirual Boston, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:

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!

Positive sdkerr
(1 review)
On Mar 12, 2014, sdkerr Beach, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

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.

Positive Lovenatives
(3 reviews)
On Feb 17, 2014, Lovenatives Nokesville, VA wrote:

I purchased vegetable seeds last year; most germinated very well but a couple did not. I contact the company; the owner determined that my timing wasn't perfect and explained how avoid the same mistakes. He replaced the seeds, and sent a bonus in addition. Altogether, a great experience; very professional advice. I will be buying from them again, with confidence.

Positive NDFrost
(1 review)
On Nov 25, 2013, NDFrost Norwich, ND (Zone 3a) wrote:

I ordered chicks in 2012 and left the delivery date open with the stipulation that I wanted them to have enough time to grow enough to withstand a ND winter. I got a confirmation in the mail indicating that one variety would possibly be a problem. Since I listed no substitutions, long story short I didn't get my chicks and was disappointed and not happy with these people. They did send a refund along with a voucher for my next order. At that point, I really didn't think there would be a next order. Then I got a catalog in the mail that winter and it laid out all of the obstacles they faced the year before. I have been raising poultry for 25 years and could certainly understand what they were saying. I decided to go ahead and order again because there was one breed that I really wanted and the big companies don't carry it. My order was split into two shipments a few weeks apart and ALL arrived alive and thriving! Because the order was split, they included extra chicks of another variety to have enough to ship. That on it's own is a delight to me, I am getting to try out breeds that I never even thought of getting. When Linda called to say that the second shipment went out, I had a question on one chick from the first group that was a different color than the rest and I wanted to know what it was. She put Glenn on the phone and I have to say that both of them were a delight to talk to.
My one suggestion that I would have for them... maybe it would help to set up email groups (perhaps labled something like 'sweet potatoes 2014', 'Chicks 2014', etc...) and add email addresses to the groups as the orders come in. Then if there are problems, an email can be sent to everyone on the list. For example, sweet potatoes seem to be the source of a lot of complaints. So maybe an update sent to the sweet potato group saying simply 'due to cooler than ideal conditions, the sweet potatoes have been set back and are not sprouting. We appreciate your patience with the delay.' I don't think this would add tremendously to the work load, and people might not get as disgruntled if they know what's going on.
I really appreciate what they are doing, and can only imagine the work involved. I feel that preserving these varieties is very important and am deeply grateful to Sand Hill for sharing.

Positive TanyainNH
(1 review)
On Apr 3, 2013, TanyainNH Strafford, NH wrote:

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!

Positive jeremybro
(6 reviews)
On Jan 24, 2013, jeremybro Mulvane, KS (Zone 6b) wrote:

We ordered seed from them last spring because they had varieties I couldn't find elsewhere, and because I admire their mission. We will order from them again this year because of their great quality. The peanuts and popcorn were exceptional. The dent corn failed due to drought. I indicated on my order form that substitutions were acceptable, and they sent 3 different packets to replace the one that was sold out. Near 100% germination, vigorous seedlings -- would have had excellent crops all around if the weather had cooperated.

Positive ammeier
(1 review)
On Jan 17, 2013, ammeier West Lafayette, IN wrote:

My husband and myself have been patiently waiting for the Sand Hill catalog to arrive. And we have just received it last week! This will be our third time ordering seeds from them. We do like that it is not some kind of a huge company focused on profit, and we do not mind their catalog being very simple and not in color. They are very personal as well. All of their seeds thrived in the lasts years hot Indiana summer. Especially the chard mix : )
I just wanted to express my gratitude for their hard work and that they are here providing me with all their awesome seeds!

Positive pryz84
(1 review)
On Jan 5, 2013, pryz84 Rock Falls, IL wrote:

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.

Positive Gypsi
(2 reviews)
On Dec 20, 2012, Gypsi Fort Worth, TX wrote:

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.

Positive ct3312
(1 review)
On Sep 7, 2012, ct3312 Ashland, WI wrote:

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

Positive 3critterfarm
(1 review)
On Jul 20, 2012, 3critterfarm Gardiner, ME wrote:

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!

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

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.

Positive Brokenroadranch
(2 reviews)
On May 1, 2012, Brokenroadranch Claremore, OK wrote:

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!

Positive emi2
(3 reviews)
On Apr 23, 2012, emi2 Forest Hill, MD wrote:

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.

Positive HoobieSchott
(1 review)
On Feb 23, 2012, HoobieSchott Bertram, IA wrote:

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

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

I have ordered both seeds and sweet potato slips from Sand Hill for five years and have been extremely satisfied with my orders and the quality of their seeds/slips! They are a fantastic company, but a local, family owned, small, fantastic company. They grow their own seed, start their own sweet potato slips (in IOWA) and ship out with a very small work force. If you are expecting seeds very quickly or a guarantee on everything being available, this is not the company for you. They are at the whim of the weather and with sweet potatoes (in IOWA) that can be tricky. Last year was horrible weather for starting slips. They are not some huge company that pays cheap labor to grow everything out of the country.

In case the above makes you hesitate to order sweet potatoes...trust me, just order them!! It will be the best thing you ever did, even if you don't get some of the varieties that you wanted or at the perfect time. The varieties of sweet potato that Sand Hill has taste so much better than any regular sweet potato I've had. I love Betty's, Maryland 810, Korean Purple and Heartogold. And you can start your own slips the following year; it is easy on a small scale.

For seeds, Sand Hill's prices are extremely reasonable and the Heirloom varieties are top quality. Most of my "must plant" varieties originally came from Sand Hill. I have had good germination. Some of my favorites from Sand Hill are: Uncle Steve's Italian pole bean, Red Acre cabbage, Nobel spinach, Grape beans, Cochita Pueblo popcorn, Oaxacan Green dent corn, Cherokee Squaw dent corn, Saravejo Bamija Okra, Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon, Tatume summer squash and Odessa summer squash.

As a repeat customer, I recommend Sand Hill highly. Plan ahead, order early and have some patience; it is worth it to order from this company.

Positive Soulsecho
(2 reviews)
On Sep 25, 2011, Soulsecho Baltimore, MD wrote:

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.

Positive Patty4853
(1 review)
On Sep 25, 2011, Patty4853 Pierson, FL wrote:

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.

Positive NapaFamilyFarm
(1 review)
On Jul 29, 2011, NapaFamilyFarm Saint Helena, CA wrote:

I couldn't be happier with my experience with Sand Hill Preservation over the five years I have been ordering from them. Let me say first that, yes, I have read all the substantial disclosures in their catalogue and on their web site. Actually, I had previously thought it was all a bit overkill, I mean if their crops didn't produce and I don't get my ground cherry seed or sweet potato slips, it's not like my world will come to an end. Having read some of the negative posts here though, I realize why they wrote such a lengthy disclosure about their limited time for customer service and the uncertainties and hazards of farming seed crops and animals !

Roosevelt gave a speech long, long ago about how "It's not the critic who counts...The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood." I'm so very thankful for the dust and sweat and blood these folks endure (in what I read on their web site, it is a hobby undertaken in addition to another full time job!) for those of us interested in a genetically diverse, non-GMO supply of seeds and poultry and sweet potatoes (maybe they supply other things I'm not aware of, but that's all I've gotten.)

Over the years I've gotten chicks, ducks, seeds and sweet potato slips. Some years, my selections weren't available for whatever reason. As it says in their lengthly disclosures, I didn't get any advance notice that I won't get that part of my order, they just sent me a refund at the end of the season. It's been oh-so-VERY-rare that I haven't gotten something I ordered, and I order a pretty large number of different things each year. I got every sweet potato slip I ordered this year. They came later than I thought they might but HOLY COW they are growing like crazy. I'm not going to have any problem getting a great crop and we have a pretty short season in this part of the US. I should mention that like their catalog suggests, I place my order early each year.

On the seeds, I would estimate I'm well over 90% on the germination rate of a really diverse group of crops. (and truth be told I'm not that great a gardener :) I've gotten nearly 50 chicks from them and only 1 was not alive on arrival. Of the remaining 49, only 1 other has died in the last 3 years. I have gotten ducks from them as well and had the same exceptional experience as the chicks.

I always get a nice "thank you!" on my receipt with each order and the one time I had to call I received a pleasant response. I always feel I am getting way more value for my money than any other place I've gotten poultry or seed.

I am so very thankful to be able to buy the things for our place from a small family business. I am so very thankful there is someone who cares about genetic diversity to put up with the "dust and sweet and blood" for those of us lucky enough to share in their fine efforts. I'll add...it's not the critics who count.

Read the disclosures on their web site and in their catalog -- and know that they are not like the big catalog companies with a online, full-time customer service department. If I remember right, their names are Glenn and Linda and I think it's just the two of them doing most everything (I just can't imagine that in addition to a full time job), which to me makes me appreciate them and their efforts all the more.

I'll order from them every year and continue to connect my family and friends with Sand Hill.

Best wishes to all for a bountiful harvest this and every year.

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.

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