The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for our seed products. Many Americans are cocooning at home—understandably motivated to be self-reliant for as much of their own fresh food as possible. With stay-at-home orders, the itch to get outside is quickly changing backyard landscapes into not only vegetable gardens, but also spirit-lifting flowers for decorating. Gardening for food and pleasure is so important in these chaotic times.
In order to keep you best informed I want to alert you to the fact that due to this surge in seed orders we are currently behind our normal shipping turnaround time. I would like you to know everyone at Territorial Seed understands how essential and important your order is, and we are committed to getting your order on its way. The safety of our crew is of the utmost importance to our family-owned company, and we have numerous new safe work practices that reflect the current situation. Three weeks ago, we closed our company store in Cottage Grove, and two weeks ago discontinued taking phone orders in our call center. We reassigned many of those staff members to shipping and seed filling departments in an effort to keep pace.
These efforts have been successful in preventing further delays, but the order surge is still on and we have not been able to substantially lower our shipping turnaround times. We are now approaching a critical point in the planting season as it pertains to northern latitude gardeners getting transplants started in advance of their last frost date. So, given the date sensitivity we will take the extraordinary action of not accepting any more orders at this time, and concentrate on shipping all existing seed orders to ensure their timely delivery.
We expect to begin accepting orders again in approximately 2 weeks, which will be in plenty of time for the main gardening season for all direct-sown seed crops. We understand seed selection has been thin lately, but we should have many more seed varieties restocked and available online as our seed packaging department is now running two shifts. Please know we will not be able to have every seed variety available by then, but we will concentrate on the most popular, and time appropriate seed varieties first.
My wife Julie and I have been in the seed business for 35 years and have never experienced anything comparable to this. We understand you have a choice in seed providers, and we thank you for the trust you have placed in our company. Please know we are putting all our resources towards meeting our commitments and getting your order on its way as quickly and safely as possible. All of us at Territorial thank you for your patience.
President, Territorial Seed Company