Mckenzie Seed Shallots are for greens

mongcong(6a)March 17, 2010

I went out to Rona the other day to find something to plant. The weather has been so wonderful. I hastily grabbed a bag of McKenzie Seeds shallot bulbs; always wanted to grow them. Got a little section of the garden prepared, and had the kids plant them for me. It was a few days later when I read and then re-read the packaging.

The front of the packaging mentions "gourmet", yet the back speaks of "the first green harvest of the garden". I wanted mild, bulbs; french type shallots, not multiplier onion greens. I emailed McKenzie seeds:

Posted To:

Subject: shallots

What species are your shallot sets? Are they true shallots, to be grown for their mild bulbs or are they multiplier onions, grown for the tops? I'm concerned, because the package I bought says they are the first green crop to be harvested from the garden.

Species name would be very helpful.


here's the pathetic response:

Hi Chris,

The shallots are grown for their tops.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Take Care


Customer Service

McKenzie Seeds

--- needless to say I was more than disappointed. I'll be digging them up and returning them to Rona.

By the way, I also called the 1-800 number and ended up speaking with Tina. Not much help there again. She did say that they would look into their packaging. Not even a sorry. I'll be staying away from McKenzie Seeds this year.

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That's quite frustrating. Once again, we have such crappy customer service here. They could have addressed your concerns then instead of elevating your frustration. What's more the information you got is confusing and the person who responded should have pointed this out.

Shallots is a term often used interchangeably with french shallots (the onion type) and green onions (also known as spring onions)>

However, I think I can help with your problem. The gourmet package you purchased is the french shallots. I just checked for the information which McKenzie seeds have online. (They should pay me for this service) Green onions are sown from seeds (black seeds) - they do not come in bulb form.

Here is a link that might be useful: McKenzie Seeds

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Ianna, thanks for your input and link. Do you see on the packaging (from the link) that there are both bulbs AND greens in the picture? Confusing to say the least. I might as well leave them in the ground and see what I get.
I'm also going to pick-up a few shallots from the grocery store and see how they do.
I just don't want to find out I've been growing onions, instead of the delicately flavoured shallots I intended. I guess I'll know what I've been growing when I make my first meal!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 12:58PM
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I know - the packaging itself is confusing. But I went by what is in the package which clearly shows bulbs. I had to bring up the view to 200 percent to see more clearly. Green onions don't produce bulbs. Take another look at the package and notice the green onions have roots. And the packaging says 12 bulbs. Green onions are sold as seeds not bulbs. I know because I've grown green onions before.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 2:43PM
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Just picked up french shallots (as stated on the packaging) from Food Basics; $1.49 for 8 good sized ones. They rival the size of the McKenzie Seed products at $3.69 for 12!
I've planted them all and will report my findings in a few months.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:42PM
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I'm getting mine from the woods. (I know where there's a patch)! Not telling (shhhhh)
Seriously though, wild shallots grow in most of our Ontario greenbelts. They do throw up a "chive" like leaf, but there is a bulb in that soggy ground.
Just don't take them all..leave some to propagate. I hunt fiddleheads too.
I really wish I had paid more attention to my Mom's depression tales of good spring greens to eat. I can't identify "Dock" which was a popular pioneer green. Is it young burdock plants? (Off topic here..sorry..should start a new thread)...wendy

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:58PM
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chris, I was going to suggest that.. go to the supermarket. -- looks like we are one of the same mind. Good luck on your trials.

wendy - yes do start a new thread on this subject. wild food is so very interesting. I know some first nations people who discuss foraging in the woods - at least I know what wild ginger looks like. Do show a pic of the wild shallot. I've heard of wild leeks too. but I've not seen them before.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Thought I'd be fair to them and post. A good responce, but unfortunately too late - I'm still a ticked-off customer.

Good morning Chris;

I wished to personally contact you regarding your recent customer service experience with McKenzie Seeds. First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to email and call with your question on the shallots you purchased. We rely on our customers' questions, concerns and feedback to continually improve where we can.

Regretfully, I learned that the answer you received from our Customer Service department was less than satisfactory or helpful to you. At McKenzie Seeds, we expect a high standard of service given to each and every customer. I have addressed the matter appropriately with the representative you dealt with and on behalf of the company, I extend our apologies to you.

Although you may no longer seek an answer to your original question, allow me to elaborate on our Gourmet Shallots:

Gourmet Shallots can be grown for either their green onions (early season) or for bulbs (end of season). More commonly, Gourmet Shallots are grown to harvest the bulbs and stored for later use in cooking dishes/pickling etc.. If the gardener wishes, they also have the option of eating the greens, which can be pulled up from the bulb earlier in the season for a wonderful green onion/scallion to eat in the summer.

I regret that I was not able to supply you this response immediately when you first contacted our company, however I do hope it is still of some use! If you have any other questions or concerns about our product, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Best Regards,

Sandra Lefebvre
Customer Service Manager
McKenzie Seeds, a Division of Jiffy

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 11:05AM
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out of curiosity, did they react to this post? or did you send them another email?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:20PM
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I'm going to guess somebody from McKenzie stumbled upon the post. I never made any other contact with them. Maybe it'll be useful to know some of the seed companies are pulling info from the forum.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 5:27PM
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interesting indeed.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 8:29PM
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