This was in yesterday's paper. I haven't been there yet, but I assume
they'd give you a quote over the phone.
Egg Harbor City is about an hour's ride from Philly. Look for it on
Rt. 30, but if you take the ride, use the Expressway as far into
Jersey as you can and then head North to EHC. Rt. 30 by itself can be
a slow ride.
State launches bid to boost New Jersey-grown wood products
New Jersey Audubon Society Director of Conservation Troy Ettel, left,
and state Agriculture Department Secretary Douglas Fisher talk with
Schairer Bros. Saw Mill owner Paul Schairer on Tuesday in Egg Harbor
City. Fisher kicked off a line of products promoting sustainably
harvested wood from New Jersey. The 'Made with Jersey Grown Wood'
label will first appear on birdhouses made from wood cut at Schairer
Related: More pictures
Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:48 pm | Updated: 7:09 am, Wed Apr
By LEE PROCIDA Staff Writer |
EGG HARBOR CITY - "Jersey Fresh" as a food label has become an easily
recognizable way to find high-quality, locally grown produce in the
Garden State. Now, a new effort announced Tuesday aims to attract
people to locally harvested wood products.
The "Made with Jersey Grown Wood" stamp will first be emblazoned on
birdhouses and birdfeeders crafted from Atlantic white cedar trees
grown in Atlantic County and cut by the Schairer Bros. Saw Mill on
Bremen Avenue. The goal is to promote the state's dwindling saw mills
as well as the practice of sustainable tree harvesting through an
easily identifiable logo.
"The opportunities are limitless," said state Agriculture Secretary
Douglas Fisher, whose department teamed with the New Jersey Audubon
Society for the project. "I think (people will) point with pride and
say, Yep, got it over here in Atlantic County.'"
Hundreds of saw mills operated throughout New Jersey in the 20th
century, but that number is down to about 26, and an even smaller
number harvests their own wood and operate full time, according to the
state Department of Environmental Protection.
The Schairer family has been doing all that for more than 70 years.
"We do it because it's what our family does," said co-owner Paul
Schairer, 45, the third generation to take up the craft.
The family mill harvests wood from about 400 acres in Egg Harbor City
and Galloway and Hamilton townships, cutting about three to five acres
a year in the cedar swamps it owns and then letting it regenerate to
be cut again decades later.
The company normally sells the wood for a variety of uses, such as
fencing, siding, shingles and lumber. It also has provided channel
markers for the waterways on the New Jersey coast, and Storybook Land
has recently asked about using the wood for a new ride at its Egg
Harbor Township theme park.
The birdhouses that bear the new "Jersey Grown" label not only
represent a new way to expand the mill's product line and the state's
program, but also the environmental community's backing of the plan,
since the state Audubon Society drove its creation.
Troy Ettel, the society's director of conservation and stewardship,
said the loss of New Jersey's saw mill market has created problems
such as increased threat of wildfire in forested communities. And
there is always the larger ecological goal of reducing the output of
carbon by getting products from a closer source rather than having
them shipped from other locales.
"When the preservation of natural resources makes economic and
ecological sense, our job is a lot easier," Ettel said. "Without the
knowledge and experience of the people who live and work on the land,
true, meaningful and sustainable conservation is impossible."
The birdhouse project is actually an extension of the society's
product line called S.A.V.E. - Support Agricultural Viability and the
Environment - that started with "Jersey Grown" sunflower birdseed in
Ettel said the birdhouses will first be for sale at the society's
centers in Cape May County and Mount Holly, Burlington County, as well
as Wild Birds Unlimited stores in Toms River, Cherry Hill and
Washington Township, Gloucester County.
What will next bear the "Made with Jersey Grown Wood" label remains to
But even with the dramatic decline in saw mills, there remain many
forest managers who could potentially contribute to the effort.
Last year, the state counted more than 300 registered tree farms -
private lands where trees are grown as a crop - managing 92,000 acres,
the DEP said.
The state also has 1,040 participants managing 115,000 acres through
its Forest Stewardship Program, a federally funded program that
encourages land owners to manage forests for both commodities and
But it is not an easy business to be in, Schairer said, as wood
shipped here from the Pacific Northwest or imported from countries
such as China and Russia costs less because of less-protective
The Schairer mill does most of its sales locally. But as the local
economy has done poorly, so has its business, since people have not
been looking to build or fix their homes - no decks, no new fences, no
"These last few years have been brutal," he said.
Schairer said his longtime customers are also dying off, and new
residents have little idea they can even get locally grown wood
nearby, instead going to principal wood importers such as Home Depot
He hopes the new "Jersey Grown" label will do something to change
"We're putting this on everything," he said of the stamp.
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