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Carol Deppe seed order problem  RSS feed

 
Posts: 16
Location: Berkeley & Somes Bar, CA
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I hesitated for months to post this publicly and am not in any way trying to spam or diminish. I have a real problem I would like help solving. I first learned of Carol Deppe though Marjory Wildcraft's online offerings. I was enchanted wth the cut and come again greens she has been developing and almost a year later was able to spend $90 on a seed order. I sent this in January of this year. 3 months later my check was cashed. Still no seeds. I have emailed carol@resilientgardener.com multiple times with no reply. I contacted Marjory's organization and asked for help. I was given a snail mail address and I have sent a note. Still no reply. I really want the seeds. I don't know how to proceed and am posting here for help. I made up that she got so swamped from others hearing of her as I did and then fires in southern Oregon. I am really just guessing and at a lost as to how to make contact and receive seeds. Does anyone have insight that could help? Many thanks.
 
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I had EXACTLY the same thing happen, and in fact posted about it here: https://permies.com/t/46891/Resilient-Gardener-Carol-Deppe#585356
My check was cashed, but I never received anything (seeds, or responses to my many correspondences). So unfortunately I don't have any advice, but wanted to let you know you're not alone. Although I absolutely loved her book, I'd caution others against placing orders until there is some resolution to these issues.
 
gardener
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I don't know what is going on.  I ordered seeds from Carol and got them.  I've read her books and seen her at conferences.  This may be a problem with shipping or handling.  It would be good to hear what's happening.
John S
PDX OR
 
jenny shore
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Katy, your experience is from this year also...still could be reasons I mentioned: flood of business then the fires...not an excuse as cashing the checks and then nothing is not cool and I very much want the seeds...how can this move forward for both of us I wonder and are there more outstanding orders?
 
pollinator
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I don't know if this will help but this is from her website:

To Contact me, use ResilientGardener at comcast.net. I don't have enough time to respond to every email. But I enjoy hearing from people, and respond when I can.

Breeding open source or public domain, open-pollinated vegetables is more of a public service than an economic activity. Fertile Valley Seeds has grown to an impossible size. It is too large for me to handle without hiring serious help. But it's too small for me to hire help and still make a profit. In order to survive, the company needs to be bigger. I need a full time employee during the seed processing and ordering season as well part time assistance during the growing season.

This is from her catalog:

Open for ordering January through April only.
(The rest of the year I’m gardening, breeding plants and writing.)
I start shipping orders in late February

Orders are shipped in the order received.
For orders in  mid-March through April
please allow 1 week in addition to time in the mail
(for both order and seeds)
.
(Earlier orders take longer because of the backlog and volume
.
I am usually caught up by late March and shipping new orders once per week).
 
jenny shore
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Thank you Anne. Yes I followed the ordering directions exactly. I emailed again this morning to resilient gardener at Comcast vs. I'd been using carol@Resilientgardener. Thanks for your input.
 
steward
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Jenny and Katy , Someone on the staff here at permies is going to try and contact her, we will get back to you if successful.
 
Posts: 247
Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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Perhaps Joseph Lofthouse can shed some light on the situation. Perhaps, he can help. Carol sells seeds from his breeding efforts.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Yep Joseph will be talking with her soon and get back with us.
 
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I spoke at length with Carol Deppe (rhymes with peppy). She filled me in on the details about what went on last winter leading to the unfilled orders. I don't want to share details publicly, just to say that I'm glad it wasn't me!

Carol had cashed checks that arrived in February, before things fell apart. She  expressed a strong sentiment about making that right with people. Said that she is sorting through the letters and contacting people to make amends. Later arriving checks were not cashed, and the orders also not filled. Of course that created an avalanche of email which made things even worse!

 
John Saltveit
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Thanks for explaining that Joseph.
Inquiring minds want to know.
John S
PDX OR
 
pollinator
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Hope things get back together again her books are so inspiring!
 
jenny shore
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Joseph, Thank you so much for sorting this out. I'm going to allow myself renewed excitement that I'll get my cut and come again greens seeds to plant early next year!
 
Katy Rose
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Just wanted to add my thanks for looking into this, Joseph! I hope that things have calmed down for Carol. Understandable that life goes sideways sometimes. I'll also hope to eventually have my order filled--I'd be thrilled to get to plant those seeds next spring.
 
pollinator
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So much of the most exciting work in crop breeding, genetic preservation, and agriculture in general is done by little, one person operations. Will Bonsall's Scatterseed project comes to mind, or the Sandhill Preservation center, Carol Deppe, Joseph Lofthouse, and many others.

Many of these individuals or small groups have no outside funding, and thus sell seeds; but some of them, understandably, are unable to keep up with the interest! Even worse, these projects can sometimes disappear without a trace, involving the loss of irreplaceable genetic resources.

I find these situations incredibly tragic. There really ought to be some sort of centralized hub for these projects that could provide funding and distribute material.

For instance, I've been trying to track down improved varieties of honey locust. Decades ago, breeding projects produced varieties that set heavy crops of high-sugar pods. However, finding a source for material has been difficult; I finally managed, but it took a lot of effort and personal emails. Some small nurseries carry them, but they seem to be chronically out of stock. (It didn't help that I was looking for seeds, not clones.)
 
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Thank you, Jenny for posting this. And thank you, Joseph, for reaching out to Carol.

I am going through the same thing after having my check cashed in early 2017. After sending in my order, I noticed the check was cashed, but I never received the seeds. I have probably emailed Carol 8 or so times by now (to all the emails I could find for her), but have not received any response. I'm happy I found this thread, instead of sending Carol yet another email.

I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this thread, but I would strongly suggest that if Carol is having issues filling orders for many people but intends to make it right, she should post this on her website. Good communication through her website might help mitigate the (likely ongoing) avalanche of email. Like many others, I am more than happy to wait, but I want to know that my order will, eventually, be filled.
 
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I'm likewise reassured to find this thread. I am in the same boat as others, except that I was ordering from Canada, so can't easily tell if my money-order was deposited or not (will have to contact my bank about this).

I couldn't hold in my mind anything but a personal disaster getting in the way of Carol's passion to share seeds, but at the same time, was likewise having a hard time with the lack of communication. It worked out well that I didn't get my over $200 order though - since my farm didn't have enough garden space for all that yet! This year I'll have much more prepared from the tarps I've got out over the winter.

In case Carol reads this, or if Joseph is in touch again with her: all my best wishes during whatever she is going through. Through hard lessons in my own personal life in 2017, I learned the hard way that resilience is harder to experience your way through than any book (even Carol's excellent ones) can ever prepare you for.

best,
Rob
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I expect to see Carol in mid-February at the Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvallis. I'll pass on the sentiments.
 
Posts: 184
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Joseph, if Carol indicates that there's anything we can do to help her out I'm sure that many of us would try our best to help.  I hope she'll be ok with having you post back on that.  Thank you very much. 
 
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When we didn't hear anything back or receive our seeds from Carol last year, we concluded something unfortunate must have happened. We were deeply concerned that Carol had had a serious health issue crop up; and after a few inquiries I wrote to say that we wanted her to keep the payment as a donation. The value of what we've learned from her work far exceeds the price we paid for her books. I can only imagine how financially difficult it would be to make up for a failed season and a big batch of unfilled, paid orders. I just hope things are much, much better now.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Elizabeth Sweet wrote:I can only imagine how financially difficult it would be to make up for a failed season and a big batch of unfilled, paid orders.



Yup. And the emotional cost takes it's toll....
 
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So sorry Carol is having problems. I have been wondering about this year's seed catalogue as I have been sending emails and getting no replies. I shall stop now and wait until I see things are returning to normal.
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I spoke at length with Carol Deppe (rhymes with peppy). She filled me in on the details about what went on last winter leading to the unfilled orders. I don't want to share details publicly, just to say that I'm glad it wasn't me!

Carol had cashed checks that arrived in February, before things fell apart. She  expressed a strong sentiment about making that right with people. Said that she is sorting through the letters and contacting people to make amends. Later arriving checks were not cashed, and the orders also not filled. Of course that created an avalanche of email which made things even worse!



So, Joseph, in absence of a heads up in the news area of Fertile Valleys webpage and since you seem to have some current insight into what is happening with Fertile Valley Seeds would you recommend we continue waiting for a 2018 seed listing or change plans and make our US orders from one of the other Oregon seed houses who carry some of Carols excellent varieties?  Thank you!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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L Munro wrote:would you recommend we continue waiting for a 2018 seed listing or change plans and make our US orders from one of the other Oregon seed houses who carry some of Carols excellent varieties?



Until further developments, I'd recommend alternate sources. Many of Carol's varieties are carried by growers with the open seed source initiative: http://osseeds.org
 
L Munro
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

L Munro wrote:would you recommend we continue waiting for a 2018 seed listing or change plans and make our US orders from one of the other Oregon seed houses who carry some of Carols excellent varieties?



Until further developments, I'd recommend alternate sources. Many of Carol's varieties are carried by growers with the open seed source initiative: http://osseeds.org



Ever so sorry to hear this!  But thank you.
 
Posts: 182
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

L Munro wrote:would you recommend we continue waiting for a 2018 seed listing or change plans and make our US orders from one of the other Oregon seed houses who carry some of Carols excellent varieties?



Until further developments, I'd recommend alternate sources. Many of Carol's varieties are carried by growers with the open seed source initiative: http://osseeds.org



Sorry to hear this. I was really hoping to grow Carol's Goldini Zucchini. I contacted OSSI and it appears that she is the only source on that seed which she just introduced in the past year. Do you know of another source for this variety?
 
master steward
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Carol Deppe's seeds are open source, so that means we can save the seeds and exchange them with eachother.

Perhaps if someone has extra of one kind of seed, they might be interested in sharing them?  Maybe for the price of postage or for an exchange of other seeds? 

Might this be an opportunity to start a swap?
 
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Seed saving and sharing these varieties would be a great way to preserve her contributions, particularly since they no longer seem available from her directly.
 
r ranson
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Larisa is seeking - Carol's Goldini Zucchini

Does anyone here have some seeds for exchange/sale?


I'll have a look at my seeds and see what I have that I can grow in isolation this year.  If it goes well, I'll have some to exchange next year. 
 
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I had a similar experience. I ordered seeds in Feb 2016 and received them in late April/May of that year. I met Carol in July 2016 at The Seed Savers Conference, and found her to be delightful. I ordered $80.00 worth of seeds in Early Feb 2017, and included $20 donation. The check was cashed the following week. I never received the seeds, and emailed her 4 times with no response. I emailed her in September and told her that I would be visiting my son who lives in the area, and offered to help her fill her seed orders. No reply. I am so sorry that she has fallen upon hard times. If I lived closer, I would be happy to help her. It seems that others would also. Her seeds are unbelievably fantastic, which makes the disappointment of never receiving the order even worse. It's a shame that she is unable to partner with someone who can help her with distribution. Her talent and contribution to plant breeding is precious, and is being wasted. I'm sure that many would help her, if she becomes comfortable with accepting help.
 
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. I ordered over $200 worth of seed from Carol last January(2017)_. Check was cashed in February. No seeds have arrived to date.Tried contacting her, no answer from her. Even sent letters with copies of everything certified mail, so I would be sure she got the response. Nothing. I am so frustrated. I am beyond disappointed as I love her seeds.  I pray she goes thru her orders from last year and discovers She never sent me the seeds I ordered.  Is there any hope of ever being given those seeds I purchased in 2017?? . If someone is able to get to the bottom of this please let me know. I have used only her seeds and read her wonderful books.  So glad I found this forum. Such wonderful people.
 
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Major crop or storage failures or inability to harvest is the stuff of my nightmares.  I live for part of the year off of income from preorders and that puts me in a dangerous position if things go seriously wrong.  A lot of plant breeders are reclusive/retiring/introverted sorts who probably get overwhelmed by this sort of thing.  I know that my energy budget for communicating with people can be spent for days after just talking to one angry/demanding customer, even if justified.  In fact, especially if justified.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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William Whitson: I know the pain of pre-orders. I used to run a CSA. That's where people pay me in the spring for vegetables that I'll provide to them for the next 23 weeks. I hated it!!! I stopped doing it after the year I had a complete crop failure on brassicas: No cabbage, radish, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, turnip, mustard, cauliflower, choi, rutabaga. Nothing at all from that family.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Patricia Sansom wrote:Is there any hope of ever being given those seeds I purchased in 2017??



Last time I talked with Carol about this, she was very aware of the problem, and working through getting things resolved. It's a hard spot to be in. Can't put out a new seed catalog until things have been made right with previous people. Therefore, cut off from the income that would make it easier to put things right.

 
Patricia Sansom
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Thank you so much for your information Joseph. I think it is the unknown that eats at you more than not receiving the seeds. My thoughts are with Carol in this difficult time.
 
Larisa Walk
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I think the main issue with Carol's seeds, or lack thereof, is lack of communication. Most growers can understand crop failures, health problems that interfere with the physical demands of farming, etc., etc. If Carol, or someone that is helping her out, would update her website "News" it would be immensely helpful, both for those who are awaiting seed from previous orders and for smoothing the reentry into seed sales, if that is what Carol plans to do eventually. Then everyone can patiently wait rather than fretting, knowing what the plan is. This may help with getting the word out rather than trying to catch up on a backlog of missed communication one by one.
 
Kim Luppino
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Carol is in the process of filling her orders. I received my order this week, don't loose hope!
 
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