Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stellar Seeds - STELLAR PEOPLE!!!

I am in love with Stellar Seeds. And below is the story of this new love affair of mine!

(Before you read on - Stellar Seeds packets fit PERFECTLY into Christmas stockings and Christmas cards! And you might just find the perfect seeds for a Secret Santa gift, too! Flip through their catalogue and order soon to get them in time for the holidays!)

Aptly named "Stellar Seeds" - 2011 Catalogue

Readers of this blog will know that I'm a stalwart supporter of West Coast Seeds. My family grew up with "Territorial Seeds", locally grown untreated vegetable and flower seeds. And then at some point, there was this big schism in the company - Territorial Seeds went one way (to the dark side of genetic modification (GMO), pesticides, all the yucky stuff we didn't like; at least, that's what I remember) and "West Coast Seeds" as we know it today was born! Untreated, organic, non-GMO seed - the way nature intended and coincidentally the way I like it!
(Incidentally, I thought Territorial Seeds kept their name, but then I vaguely recollect old seed packets in the same style but with "PNW (Pacific Northwest) Seeds" on them. I found a link here saying that Abundant Life Seeds in Oregon is now a sister company to Territorial Seeds since it was destroyed by fire in 2003! Yikes. Ooh, more gossip here! My my! Some very unhappy customer service stories, too!)

West Coast Seeds has so much to offer, so I've never felt the urge to stray. But then I started hearing murmurs in the gardens about Stellar Seeds - an equally positive BC company with all the right values and some pretty gnarly (in the good sense!) seeds. My friend Sarah and her gardening guru family used Stellar Seeds, and I had probably already reaped the rewards in plant swaps (it's likely the tomatillos and broccoli Sarah sent my way were Stellar stock).

I love Stellar Seeds! Visit their site and buy some great seed!

But then last year I went to the urban agriculture exhibit at the MOV, and they handed out some Stellar Seeds as freebies (through Farm Folk, City Folk). I grew some lovely lettuces and Latah tomatoes and Stellar Seeds was on my purchasing radar!

And then the big moment, where I realised that I needed to blog about Stellar Seeds and share my MARVELLOUS experience!

I'm actively resisting the temptation to start those Isis Candy tomatoes in December....

In the interest of my personal privacy, I can't give much in the way of details. I volunteer for an outreach group with at-risk teens. And I was buying some seeds to share with them (as well as my own balcony!), when I thought to ask in the "additional comments" field of the Stellar Seeds order form if they would be interested in sending a few packets of leftover/expired seeds as a donation to our little group (I will be teaching all about urban agriculture this spring! I'm so excited!!). And I did the same for my West Coast Seeds order.

Colleen AND Patrick, who I will later discover are the family that owns and runs Stellar Seeds, both email me and say that they are more than happy to send some freebies as a donation, that they believe in what I'm trying to accomplish (instilling a passion for gardening, urban food production, and connectedness with the earth in these kids from the inner city), and they both leave me with encouraging words on top of an offer of seed donation!

and then we had a back & forth conversation after this. :) LOVELY lovely people!

(and then some MORE encouragement with my shipment!)  <3

Contrast this to West Coast Seeds. Now I've only ever had good experiences with the WCS folk (I'm also rather fond of them! Great seeds, too), but you can see clearly the contrast between a small, family-run company out of Kaslo, BC (Stellar Seeds) and a larger company with stringent policies and what-have-you in Greater Vancouver. WCS also seem to be pleased to entertain my request, but I had to fill out a form, send a letter on our letterhead, give our charity number, prove that I know what I'm doing enough with the seeds to not fail miserably (and thus reflect badly on the company, I suppose), and show photos of my plan or past projects. I returned a polite "thank you anyway - we're too small to have a registered charity number or letterhead and we're too new for past successful projects, so catch you next time" email. That email was responded to, asking me to please submit what I did have, and they'll consider my request with the others at year-end.

The follow-up email - nothing at all like the Stellar Seeds customer service, eh?

So all-in-all, I can't complain much about the WCS service. We'll see if anything came of all of that time and effort on my end!

But it doesn't really matter if WCS comes through or not, 'cause Colleen & Patrick, my two new favourite people, sent us a great bounty of seeds of all varieties! I asked for a packet or two of something they had in excess that they thought would work well for our purposes, and they sent vegetable seeds, herb seeds, flower seeds, everything!

Just as polished as the big guys, but are small guys! SUCH NICE PEOPLE!

You just cannot hope for better customer service from your seed company than what you get at Stellar Seeds!

WHOA! What a haul! The shipping box was even reused (cracker box!). Green and generous - STELLAR IS STELLAR!

Now please don't take this as a cue to beg for free seeds from them (if you want free seeds that badly, ask me! I'm sure we'll have excess now ourselves! What amazing generosity from Stellar!); their prices are VERY good and their seeds are just lovely so make sure you buy some!

 Some of the awesome seeds we've been blessed with that I can't wait to try (and I'm hoping the kids will feel the same way!):

Dragon's Tongue bush bean
Toma Verde tomatillos (it's been awhile, and they were awesome back in 2001 or whenever it was!)
Dragon purple carrot (I think these are going to wow the teens!)
Red Kuri squash
Chervil (never tried this before!)
Mild Mesclun mix (and a bunch of other greens, too! Won't these be great in an edible hanging basket?!)
Antoji "Defecting Acrobat" Romanian pepper (follow link to read up on the acrobat comment!)
Pink and Purple Poppies


THANK YOU COLLEEN AND PATRICK! May good commercial karma find its way back to you, you lovely people!

And may everyone who reads this blog purchase Stellar Seeds for 2012!

Please visit the Stellar Seeds website (seed packets fit into Christmas cards!):

Not into online shopping? (Really? 'Cause it's super convenient and fun!) - You can purchase Stellar Seeds the old-fashioned way (in person!) at these retail locations:

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