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!
Back in 1984 I was 25 years old, and really starting to catch a passion for seed saving. I had heard of the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) and decided to join. I received my first copy of the Seed Savers Exchange Winter Yearbook, which was chock full of seed listings from all over the USA and other countries. I remember pouring over that yearbook, amazed at all the varieties described and the historical/cultural information attached to them. 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.
Very quickly 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 sent seeds to Sandhill Preservation Center, and, along the way, Glenn started raising and preserving rare breeds of poultry. On occasion he and his wife, Linda, would travel for hours to pick up the last few birds of a rare breed and bring them home. Then they might raise and preserve that rare breed, only receiving a small order, for a few chicks, a couple times a decade. Why did they do this? They did it because of the need to preserve the genetic resources and cultural heritage they represented.
Profit is not the primary motivating factor for the existence of Sandhill Preservation Center.
Sandhill Preservation Center never purposely drops a vegetable variety, though, on account the the immensity of their collection, it may take some years for a variety to resurface in their catalog. Their decision to keep these seeds going runs far deeper than economics.
Just a little over year ago, I was standing in my garden, chatting with Glenn, by cell phone, and mentioned some challenges I’ve faced, in preserving my wife’s family heirloom wax pole bean (Barksdale Wax Pole Bean). Verbally, Glenn did a verbal double take, asking, “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 (common) friend of ours. The seed he’d grown had been frozen since 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!
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!
Finally, I’d like to share one more positive aspect of this seed company. When they describe a breed of bird or a variety of seed, the description is never artificially positive. They tell it like it is. 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!
Another tip from the Homestead!