Support GMO Labeling.
In November of 2012 those of us who live in California lost a great opportunity, but that doesn't mean we stop fighting! We have a right to know what's in our food. We support GMO labeling.
Learn more and join the folks at Just Label It!
We will NEVER sell seeds unless we KNOW they are NON-GMO!
This is an enormous concern for us and for the farmers and seed suppliers we buy from. We have been militant organic folks for over two decades and GMOs are NOT organic! You will NEVER get GMO seds from Sproutpeople!
We Have a Right to Know What's in Our Food: Fifty countries around the world—representing more than 40% of the world’s population---already require GMO labeling, including all of Europe, Japan, India, Russia and China. Polls show that more than 90% of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered. We are free to choose what we want to eat and feed our children. The free market is supposed to provide consumers with accurate information about products so we can make informed choices.
Let the FDA know how you feel about GMO labeling. Tell your friends, The President, and every Elected Official too. If we want this we're gonna have to work for it!
OUR NEWEST ITEMS, SEEDS and MIXES!
Seeds and Stuff
Weather has been inconsistent for many years now and that has a HUGE affect on plants. Plants are phenomenal adaptors however, so we are pleased we can once again say that this years crops (2012 seeds from the 2011 harvest) have impressed us. We've heard some good reports from our farmers in a few parts of the country, but we've heard the word drought a lot more in 2012. I'm sure we'll be impressed again. Farmers always seem to come through - but that doesn't mean the seeds will be as good as they have been in the past. Please do whatever you can to help our planet. We all need to pitch in. Huge changes are needed, but every little bit helps.
We introduced 2 new mixes in September of 2009: Mothers Mix (especially for pregnant and nursing women - but good and tasty for everyone) and a mix for Dogs: 4 Legs of Love.
We are now offering more, in conjunction with our new web site going live we are introducing: Sprouts; Kale,Tatsoi, Dill, and a new allergen free Bird Mix - Dr. Bird. We also have new seeds for Greens; Nalo Greens - andMicro-Greens; Mizuna, Kale, Celery and Turnip, and a custom mix of our own design: Bruno's Indoor Garden, which is truly glorious.
We're also experimenting with Beet, Chard, Basil, Cilantro, Spinach and several more seeds. It's a lot of fun, and we hope to keep expanding our offerings when we find things that fit organically.
We've also added a few new products - a Dehydrator, a Blender and a New Juicer, as well as some Odds and Ends. Finally, we added Nutritional Supplements, for those times when sprouting doesn't fit into your schedule. We have a wonderful local company, Amazing Grass that supplies these.
Seeds and the Drought of 2012
Most of what is written below (under Seed Availability Update) refers to the 2011 crops - which are the seeds we sell during most of 2012. This paragraph is about what is going on in 2012. This has been one of the worst drought years in recent memory. Some crops have been lost completely, so we are stocking up - when possible - on 2011 crops to tide us over. We hope that 2013 will be a better year for farmers. Yields are down in many cases so prices will once again be higher (you know - supply and demand). It is always a lot of work to find good lots of seed. We test and test and test. As I write this it is September of 2012 - I do not usually test so much until all the new crops are available, but that isn't an option this year as some crops won't even be available due to crop failure caused by drought. This testing is something unique to Sproutpeople. Some other suppliers just buy what they can and never test. In addition to testing we will let you know (in the Notes section of our seed/mix pages) what is unique about the seed we are currently offering. You will see some - like Hulless Oats which will say that the current seed is from the 2011 harvest (due to crop failure in 2012). Others - like Sunflower Greens will note that the seed we have is currently from 2011 (while we await the harvest of the 2012 crop), and is a hybrid seed - as opposed to the open-pollinated seed we expect to have again once the 2012 crop is harvested and available in early 2013. The Sunflower Greens will also tell you about why the seed is so cool looking - with white stripes down the sides. The Garlic Chivespage will tell you that we have current seed because our farmer irrigates and was able to compensate for the drought. Whenever there is anything you need to know, we put it in the Notes section of those pages.
Seed Availability Update
This is a very big deal! Canada had a serious Alfalfa crop failure in 2010. We were able to get a hold of a great crop. The 2011 harvest was much better, but the price remained high. Beyond that - Monsanto is pushing forward with their genetically modified Alfalfa. GMO's are a nightmare that defies description. We and our ilk keep fighting them, but Monsanto is one seriously huge and powerful corporation - with all the lobbyists they want helping to push their agenda through government. What it all means is this: Alfalfa may not be available at some point in years to come. Our supplier estimates that it may be impossible to get seed which hasn't been infected (my choice of words) with GMOs, as soon as 2017. We will NEVER sell (or eat) genetically modified seeds! Enjoy it while it lasts.
We get these beauties directly from a California farmer.
One of the fastest sprouts. We've had a steady supply of great seed for many years now.
We've not heard of a single good 2012 crop so we're stocking up on some fine seed from 2011.
Supply has been somewhat inconsistent for a few years but we have seed we are very happy with.
Our farmer in Illinois, has again provided us with exceptional seed - but this year's crop (like last year's) is a mix of certified organic (which we are using in our mixes - and transitional organic - which we are selling straight. See our Garlicpage for details. We use Garlic Chive in our Italian Blend and Exotic Sprout Sampler, in addition to selling it as a straight sprouting seed. You should freeze this seed too. Check out our Seed Storage page. Freezing is the best way to store all seeds, but these and other Alliums are the shortest lived seeds of all, so they require it.
Garbanzo - Black
After 2 great harvests (2008 and 2009) our farmer lost his crop in 2010, so sadly they vanished again. BUT, 2011 provided a good growing season. Read on....
Once upon a time (2003 and before) we had many Garbanzo beans to choose from - Black, Brown, Large and Small Beige. After years of getting by with mediocre Blacks and even some pathetic Browns in our mixes - 2008 finally yielded a great crop of Black Garbanzos for our farmers in Nebraska (we sent them 50 pounds for seed stock back in the last century, but they never produced well until 2008)! 2009 was another great year. Since the 2010 crop was lost we will be sending our remaining 200 pounds to Mark - once again - for seed stock - so we have high hopes for the future of Black Garbanzos. The 2012 drought did not help with this hope for the future, but we still have some seed from 2011.
We continue to find good Kamut, but it's never easy.
Lentils - Red Chief
These lentils have become more and more difficult to get over the years. We are pleased to have tracked some down, and hope our supply lasts. The farmer who was our source for over a decade stopped growing these a few years back, so it has been very tricky finding any. We think we'll have them through 2013. After that it's anyone's guess.
Our farmer Mark lost his crop in 2012 but we were able to get enough of his great 2011 crop to tide us over.
We have tried many times to find whole oats (with hulls) for grass growing, but we've never found seed good enough to meet our standards, so we sell Hulless Oats for this purpose as well.
Oats & Groats
Our simplest mix. We'll have it as long as our Hulless Oats hold out.
We found some great seed from the 2011 crop. We are testing new lots from 2012 in hopes of finding more, but so far I'm unimpressed and have chosen to make it out-of-stock so that we are sure to have enough for our Russian Mix.
Oriental Mustard and Mustard Greens
This is the only mustard we love. It was impossible to get between 2007-2009, but we got lucky - or our farmer did - and we were able to get some in 2010. It is an essential ingredient in quite a few of our mixes: Russian Mix, Nick's Hot Sprout Salad, Oriental Greens, Hot2, and Long Life. We also - once again - have Oriental Mustard in our Micro-Greens Kit and ourBrassica Sampler. Demand is high for this unique mustard, so get it while you can as it may disappear at some point.
Peas - Green
These are an essential ingredient for us. They are typically one of the easiest seeds to find, but 2012 provided unusual challenges. I'm glad to say that we did find a great lot.
Drought in the southwest as well as increased cotton production (the price was so high that many farmers planted cotton instead of peanuts) resulted in a huge decline in peanut production in 2011. We are out of these currently, but we are searching very hard for more. The shortage caused the price to jump (from which it will never come down, probably) dramatically. We Sproutpeople carry such a wide variety of seeds that it is inevitable that we have difficulty finding sources for some of them every year. Keep your fingers crossed.
In our home we vastly prefer popping popcorn to growing it into shoots, but we try to keep enough seed in to satisfy your desires as well as our own. Corn was devastated by the 2012 drought so we're bringing in some 2011 popcorn from Nebraska.
Always tough to find in acceptable quality. Frankly I've not been thrilled with our pumpkin seed for many years but we have been able to find some annually which we can live with.
Rye and Rye Grass
We now have 2012 seed. It sprouts great but I'm not thrilled with it for growing grass.
Natural Sesame and Black Sesame
A few years back a loyal customer told us that sprouted Black Sesame looks really cool - like tiny dominos. So we found some, and she was right - it is cool - and it sprouts really well.
Usually damaged in the process of hull removal, spelt is always tough to find. It is likely that we'll be out of this soon if we aren't already.
A very tender seed (nut meat) which breaks easily when the shell is removed, resulting in a percentage of broken seeds. We have to find seeds that have the lowest possible percentage of broken seed, as well as other good characteristics. It's always tough, but we have some now.
2011's crop provided the 5th consecutive year Sunflower Greens have been great (after a few years of miserable seed) - they are excellent seeds that produce robust greens. The 2011 crop was a huge leap forward thanks to our farmer friend Mark. They were open-pollinated! Sunflower Greens are the only hybrid seed we've ever sold. There's nothing wrong with hybrids. Hybrids are NOT in any way the same thing as genetically modified organisms (GMOs)! It's just that if seeds they produce are planted the next year (by the seed saving farmer or the home gardener) they will not produce consistent plants (they produce a range based on the parentage that made the hybrid). Mark however has been selecting seeds for years - he chooses the plants that produce best - and plants the seeds they produce. Through years of such scrutiny and selection he has established an open pollinated seed (one that will produce consistent plants every year). It may not sound like much, but it is huge! Way to go Mark! So, we had Mark's Open-Pollinated (OP) seed until August of 2012. We sold out and are now going to have a hybrid he grew, while we await his 2013 OP harvest. He tells me that drought of 2012 took a huge toll on the crop and he felt the OP seeds weren't good enough to sell. The hybrids we have in their place are gorgeous! They are big seeds with a white stripe down their sides. I was hesitant to bring them in for fear that you all would think they were Confectionary as opposed to Black Oil Sunflowers. Though that distinction makes absolutely no difference in a seed producing Greens, it would conflict with our seed page which specifies Black Oil Sunflowers. So, to clarify - they are Black Oil but they have a white stripe. They are hybrids, so if you plant some in your garden don't expect the seed they produce to look the same. The vast majority of you will be growing them into Sunflower Greens so none of this makes any difference to you. They grow a great crop of Greens!
It's great, it's hard to find. Enjoy it while it lasts!
China has had yet another good growing season, so the crops we get from that part of the planet are high quality once again. There aren't many, but they are important - Mung Beans especially. Please understand that we are VERY concerned about ALL products from China. We were so impressed by the fairly recent dog food recall (we are dog people) and more recently the toys being recalled that we now read every label when we are shopping, and if something is coming from or has ingredients from China, or even if we are uncertain; we are putting it back on the shelf. The Chinese seeds we carry are another matter all together. These are grown by small farmers who are growing organically. We MUST support these farmers! They are doing everything right for this suffering planet of ours, and we are not going to make them suffer for the mistakes of the greedy corporations that currently have a stranglehold on our planet. Help us support organic farming in China by buying without hesitation.
These seeds are troublesome. They are either hard to find at all, or hard to find in good quality, but we keep looking....
Small Beige Garbanzo
Another obscure seed which has proved impossible to find, so far. We keep looking.
Gone forever - or until some farmer decides to grow some again:
A curiosity of the 2008 crop year was this; after 2 very bad years, which saw yields as low as 33% of normal - the price of wheat shot up in 2009, so many farmers planted wheat instead of other crops - thinking it would yield a tidy profit. This resulted in a shortage of several seeds in 2009. Though 2010 seems to have remedied the shortages of other seeds - it is notable that the price of wheat has gone up dramatically. We believe it has to do with fuel production (corn has gone up even more than wheat), but regardless - we now pay more than 400% more for wheat than we did just 6 years ago.
What We Have to Say About the Spring, 2011 Pathogenic Outbreak in Germany
In light of the May, 2011 pathogenic outbreak in Germany, that was incorrectly linked to Mung Bean sprouts, we want to advise our customers that the safest food is that which you prepare in your own home. As long as yourSprouter is clean, your hands are clean and you are using a clean water source such as tap water, you can be assured of the highest level of safety. Some people may wish to take the added precaution of adding to the soakwater 1/4 cup of white vinegar per quart of water or a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract. These two sanitizers can be added to the soak water and will clean the seed's outer coat. We want to remind you that buying seed from an organic source (us, for example) also increases your safety, since organic seeds are required to be handled in a much safer way than conventionally grown seed.
The German government has been highly criticized for being slow to act on the outbreak that began May 2. An ABC News article on June 10 states: "German officials accused Spanish cucumbers of being the culprit last week but had to retract when the cucumbers had a different strain of E. coli (which may or may not have been harmful to humans. Not all E. coli is dangerous to humans.). On Sunday, they blamed German Mung Bean sprouts, only to backtrack a day later when initial tests were negative." None of the tests conducted on the German bean sprouts showed contamination. However, after erroneously accusing Spanish cucumbers, the German authorities focused their attention on Mung Bean sprouts. The ABC article further states: "If you gave us 200 cases and 5 days, we should be able to solve this outbreak," said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, whose team has contained numerous food-borne outbreaks in the United States.
Osterholm described the German effort as "erratic" and "a disaster" and said officials should have done more detailed patient interviews as soon as the epidemic began. He also disputed the idea it might be impossible to find the outbreak's source. "To say we may never solve this is just an excuse for an ongoing bad investigation," he said. "This is like a cold murder case where you go back and re-examine the evidence." Even German lawmakers have slammed the government's chaotic response to the outbreak, criticizing the confusing announcements and retractions. Christine Clauss, Saxony's state health minister and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's own governing party, said states were initially conducting their own investigations into the outbreak. "It would be especially important to cooperate more closely and in a more centralized way in situations with a nationwide germ," she told the daily newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung. As of June 7 after a botched investigation the German authorities were under immense pressure to pin point the culprit within 10 days. On June 10, with no bacterial evidence, they named Mung Bean sprouts.
As is the case with epidemiological analysis, even if the lab tests don't prove conclusive, circumstantial evidence is used to determine the answer. In this case, as in too many that have proceeded it, sprouts were blamed, based solely on information collected about where and what people ate, regardless of the lab tests coming back clean. They will probably never know for certain what food was involved, though that didn't stop them from moving the blame to Fenugreek (an of course there has been no exoneration of Mung Beans. As it has been so shall it always be - the powers that be, along with the media are happy to lay blame - but they are never inclined to apologize or correct untruths as they move along in their "investigation".). Without definitive analysis all the German government has succeeded in doing is to scare Europeans away from all vegetables. For example, AFP News in Europe states in an article June 15 that farmers in The Netherlands have lost over 30,000 tons of crops due to lack of demand for vegetables.
All of our seeds have been tested and are free of pathogenic bacteria. We eat sprouts grown from the same seeds we sell to you, as we always have, and as our children and pets always have. We continue to eat them without fear, and always will.
We were in Europe on a family holiday for all of this chaos. Our travels took us to the U.K., Holland, France, and Italy. Though we were in Europe since this outbreak began, we were purchasing fruits and vegetables at public markets and eating raw, without fear during our entire stay. We hope you too can enjoy a life free of fear and full of fresh organic food.
Gil and Lori
Educate Yourself: See what foods have recently been linked to e Coli.
Though we can no longer offer Sprout-Ease Lid Sets, we Sproutpeople have something even better.
We now have our very own 3-Lid Set of Stainless Steel Sprouting Screens!
This is the 2nd sprouter we've had to make due to a manufacturers disappearance (the Hemp Bag was our 1st). We are very proud of this addition to our line of fine manual sprouting products - and we've perfected it by using Plastic Rings for a rust free experience.
We had the great honor to edit the sprouting section of the new Joy of Cooking and received a wonderful thanks in Ethan's introduction. Susan and Ethan have purchased seeds and supplies from us for years and Gil had griped about the past editions poor sprouting instructions, so I suppose it was just natural. But THE Joy of Cooking! Wow! Who doesn't have that book in their collection?!
There is now a Joy of Cooking web site.
We changed our Kelp Fertilizer brand due to problems with importation from Canada. Kelpman (formerly Sea Spray) has been replaced with " Saltwater Farms SeaCom PGR". The kits we sell which include kelp fertilizer now contain this new brand. This concentrated liquid kelp makes up to 50 gallons of organic fertilizer! The kits cost us more with the switch to SeaCom PGR, but life is good - now you get more - and you pay only a tiny bit more than before.
We have added another soilless growing medium: Tencel® Sure-to-Grow Pads. These are identical in use to Baby Blanket, so if you purchase STG Pads (which is what we are calling them) and look up growing instructions on our site, please follow the Baby Blanket instructions. You will be doing exactly the right thing. The pages involved will be changed to include STG Pads in time or will be changed so both mediums are referred to in a generic way, like Growing Pads.
Prices are going up everywhere for all of us. Fuel costs drive everything higher (virtually everything is transported from its source to its end user - and even when the price of gasoline is down from its high point, truckers and shippers are not lowering their rates (UPS raised rates again - yet another 6% - in January - that's over 25% in just the past 4 years!)). It is a fact of life - it has been worsening for years - and it doesn't look like it is going to get better anytime soon, but hey - it's not just us - it's a global problem...
We are trying to suck it up and keep our prices low. It is hard! We are a small family business, but we feel like we have to do what we can to keep inflation at bay. The more companies raise their prices the faster inflation grows. It would be much more helpful if the oil giants stopped gouging us (their profits have been at record highs for years now), or the car companies, or any of the other bazillion dollar corporations - but we know that's not going to happen - so it's up to us little people to help each other.
So what's new?!
Here is an example:
We get quite a few seeds from Canada. For years we enjoyed our dollar being worth almost twice the Canadian dollar. Now the U.S. dollar is roughly equal to a Canadian dollar. Good for Canada! We love them, but the reality is that we now pay more than twice what we paid for some seeds, just a few years ago. Farmers are also hit hard by fuel costs (tractors need gas too). Combine that with poor weather and the resulting bad crops and we get short supply - so there is not enough supply to meet the demand, which further raises prices. Our profit margins have shrunk dramatically over the past few years. Fortunately for us we get more orders every year - so we make it up in volume - or have so far. With UPS sucking more of our money again, seeds costing twice what they did, suppliers raising prices on everything we sell (sprouters, juicers, appliances, mediums, etc.) and use (boxes, paper, packing peanuts, etc.), and the cost of getting those goods to us, it was only a matter of time before we had to raise our prices. We just want you to know that we take our part in inflation very seriously, and we will keep our prices as low as we possibly can. Always.
THE FUTURE OF RAW ALMONDS
A lot of you have asked about the future of almonds. It is true that our government very quietly (and without public notification or call for comment) passed a law to pasteurize all almonds. We need to make some serious noise if we want RAW organic almonds to be readily available again. Fortunately for all of us, we have The Cornucopia Institute! The Cornucopia institute is working to reverse this ridiculous law. Learn about what they are doing and how you can help.
Also write your elected officials (all of them) and the USDA to demand that organic almonds not be pasteurized (Click to download a Sample Letter (This link will download a Word file which will go wherever you file your downloads)). This is another case where we can say that certified organic seed has never been blamed for a single outbreak of food-borne illness. That recent research shows organic crops to be more nutritious is only more reason for us to stand up and be heard while we can still fight for healthy food. Visit our friends at The Cornucopia Institute for further information.
END OF AN ERA
Gone is the manufacturer of Sprout-Ease Lids and The Tube. All of you loyal customers will likely remember this oft repeated sad refrain, we apologize. We gave these people every possible opportunity but they stopped filling orders, did not respond to e-mails, their voice-mail was always full and they disregarded faxes. We haven't heard from them since early in 2006! We are very sad to see them go. The Tube still has a page on our site - for those of you lucky enough to have one, but they are not - and will not be for sale again. As much as we loved their products we do have better. Sproutpeople's own 3-Lid Set of Stainless Steel Lids are way better than the oldPlastic Lids, and Easy Sprout is - and has always been - way better than The Tube. Check out those devices and feel lucky - they really are better.
The Tube was part of our Kids Sprout Exploration Kit - but we have replaced it with another sprouter and have re-designed the kit. It Rocks, and is far less expensive: Kid's Sprout Kit.
We now offer Free Shipping!
Free Shipping is limited to U.S. addresses.
We are sorry but the cost of shipping outside of the U.S. is just too much for us to absorb. Running any size business is tough in these trying times. We pay more for every single thing every single year - seeds, labels, boxes - you name it. If we can ever figure a way to offer Free Shipping world wide, we will be thrilled to offer it to you.
While we're on the subject of Free Shipping - We have a $60 minimum because we determined it was necessary for Sproutpeople's survival. The heavier your order (by weight) - the less it costs (per pound) to ship your package (we still have to pay (UPS and the USPS) to ship your package). If we offered Free Shipping on everything, many folks would order single items (we would) - and we'd actually lose money on those orders - and then Sproutpeople would not survive - and then our web site would cease to exist - and then how would you know how to grow sprouts? And what would become of us? Oooh, now it's getting scary. Sorry about that.
Priority Mail and the Flat-Rate Box...
We will use Flat-Rate boxes whenever it is economical for you and possible for the items you ordered to fit in one. There is no way for our shopping cart to know what will and will not fit in any size box - so it can not offer you flat-rate shipping at checkout. So, if it is a good idea and your items will fit - we will use flat-rate. If we can save you $2 or more we will credit your credit card for the money saved in shipping this way. You do not need to ask us. We want you to spend more of your hard earned money on sprouting seeds and supplies - and less on shipping. As always - we do the best we can. Please trust us to do so. We issue credits once weekly, so practice patience if you can stand to.
This isn't the first year weather has been weird, it has been like this since we got into agriculture (1989), and before, but it is surely worse than ever - way too much heat and inconsistent moisture (too much or too little and often at the wrong time). As concerned as we are about global warming, we like to think that "life will find a way" - which means, in this case, that seeds will adjust to the new conditions. Seeds are alive and they work for the survival of their species. One way they do that is by acclimating. Seeds are amazing - they are what made us become Sproutpeople.
As always, we are trying to do better - as Sproutpeople and as human beings.
Thank you again for your continuing support and kind words.
Gil & Lori