Sandhill Preservation Center

Sandhill Preservation Center in Nebraska

Sandhill Preservation Center is one of the most unique seed companies out there. This family run seed company finds its purpose and direction, completely in the word PRESERVATION!

different colored sweet potatoes, sweet potato varieties together
Sandhill Preservation Center’s sweet potato offerings DWARF those of almost any other seed company.

Back in 1984 I was 25 years old, and really catching a passion for seed saving. I had heard of the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) and decided to join. I obtained  my first copy of the Seed Savers Exchange Winter Yearbook in 1985 and found it was chock full of seed listings from all over the USA and other countries, and I remember pouring over that yearbook. I was amazed at all the varieties described and the historical/cultural information attached to them.

Visit Sandhill Preservation Center, Online

One of the first members from whom I made a seed request… was Glenn Drowns.

One of the first members of the SSE from whom I made a request was Glenn Drowns. After all, his picture was on the front cover of that yearbook and he was holding some very interesting squash! I requested a number of seeds from Glenn.

Glenn and Linda have been involved in preservation for most of their lives.

heirloom corns, indian corns
Sandhill Preservation Center has an extensive offering of corn varieties whch are mainly heirlooms.

I learned that Glenn was starting his own seed company, Sandhill Preservation Center. Over the years we corresponded, and sometimes chatted over the phone about various vegetable varieties we were growing. I traveled a bit, and that, in some rather exotic places, often sending seed back to Glenn. To this day, there are a number of seeds offered by this company which I sent him years ago. Many other seed savers have sent seeds to Sandhill Preservation Center, and, along the way, Glenn started raising and preserving rare breeds of poultry.

Glenn and Linda would travel to recover the last of an endangered breed of poultry.

On occasion he and his wife, Linda, would travel for hours to pick up the last existing birds of a rare breed and bring them home. They would then raise and preserve that rare breed. It has not been uncommon that they go years between orders for chicks of some breeds. Why do they do this? They do it because of the need to preserve the genetic resources and cultural heritage they represent.

tom turkey, turkey fanning
Sandhill Preservation Center offers many rare types poultry.

Profit is not the primary motivating factor for the existence of Sandhill Preservation Center.

Because of the immensity of their collection it may take years for them to list a variety in their catalog, but Sandhill Preservation Center never purposely drops a vegetable variety. They just have to rotate what they offer. Their commitment to keep these varieties going runs far deeper than economics.

Barksdale Wax Pole Bean pods, yellow bean pods, golden snap beans
Barksdale Wax Pole Bean is one of my family heirlooms which found its way into Sandhill Preservation Center’s collection through the late Tom Knoche’s frozen seed bank.

One day I was standing in my garden, chatting with Glenn, by cell phone, and mentioned some challenges I’ve faced, in preserving an heirloom bean. When I mentioned the name of the bean, Barksdale, Glenn did a verbal double take. He asked “That’s your bean?” He then informed me that he had just grown out seed, of this bean, from a frozen seed bank inherited from a deceased friend of ours. The seed he’d grown was from 1986, meaning that I myself had packaged it, from my very first seed crop of this bean! The 2017 Sandhill Preservation Seed Catalog listed this bean, only ONE generation removed from my original sample! That’s PRESERVATION!

Wax Pole bean yellow pole bean
Barksdale is a beautiful, yellow podded, climbing bean, with super tender pods.

More information on Barksdale Wax Pole Bean

Sandhill Preservation Center offers one of the two most extensive collections of sweet potato varieties available to home gardeners. The task of maintaining so many varieties of sweet potatoes has to be a labor of love. It’s too much work to do, if profit was the only motivation!

sweet potatoes, obtain sweet potato slips cuttings
Sandhill Preservation Center offers an amazing array of sweet potato varieties.

Finally, I’d like to share one more positive aspect of this seed company. When they describe a breed poultry or a variety of seed, the description is never artificially positive. They tell it like it is, and I really appreciate this. This has saved me time and money, not having to grow something out, only to discover that it was never really going to work for my conditions.

Sandhill Preservation Center’s catalog descriptions are truly accurate.

If you’re going to buy seeds for your garden, why not look at a really good selection of old, traditional and non-hybrid varieties? Why not support a company whose main purpose is preservation of these precious resources? If you would like to get into poultry, why not consider raising something really unique, uncommon or specially suited to your conditions? As we enter the New Year, and you dream of what you’d like to grow (or raise) in the coming spring, consider Sandhill Preservation Center!

Related article: Seed Companies versus Seed Saving?


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