Consumers can now readily purchase sunflower birdseed that does much more than just feed birds. The New Jersey Audubon's S.A.V.E. TM Birdseed is also a green, sustainable product that benefits New Jersey's agricultural community and the environment.
S.A.V.E.TM Birdseed had previously been available exclusively through New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) stores at locations across the state (Franklin Lakes in Bergen County, Ringwood in Passaic County, Bernardsville in Somerset County, Mount Holly in Burlington County, Cape May/Cape May Courthouse in Cape May County and Plainsboro in Middlesex County). However, the demand and interest in the seed has allowed NJAS to expand beyond those locations to participating retailers for the first time starting with the October sale, making the seed more widely available and convenient to New Jersey consumers.
Participating New Jersey retailers also selling S.A.V.E.TM Birdseed this fall include Wild Birds Unlimited stores in Red Bank (Monmouth County), Sewell (Gloucester County), Cherry Hill (Camden County) and Toms River (Ocean County); Wild Bird Center in West Caldwell (Essex County); Agway in Raritan/Hillsborough (Somerset County); Greenland Landscape Company in Paramus (Bergen County); Sergeantsville Grain and Feed in Sergeantsville (Hunterdon County); and Pet Agree Pets in Manahawkin (Ocean County).
Brodhecker Farms in Newton, NJ (Sussex County), Raj Sinha of Liberty Farms in Sandyston, NJ (Sussex County), and Laine Farm in Hillsborough, NJ (Somerset County) are participating farmers who will sell it from their farm stands.
"Sale Days" for S.A.V.E. TM Birdseed are Saturday, December 4; and Saturday, February 12. These days target the optimal time period during which to purchase the birdseed, as these are the days when the seed deliveries will be completed to the stores, NJAS Centers and farmers' markets. Due to the anticipated high demand for the product, and based on sales last year, this time period will be very short; therefore, consumers are encouraged to purchase their birdseed as close to these Sale Days as possible for best availability and freshness.
These Sale Days also signify the days of online pre-orders, placed through www.njaudubon.org. A complete list of retailers and farm markets can also be found on the website; and consumers are encouraged to visit the site frequently for updates and additions regarding participating retailers – as NJAS successfully seeks to expand its list of S.A.V.E. TM Birdseed retail outlets. can be picked up from participating NJAS centers. To view the NJAS order form or to find a participating NJAS center near you, visit
The sunflowers, from which this birdseed was harvested, were planted by New Jersey farmers who are cooperating with New Jersey Audubon to produce certified Jersey Grown birdseed – the first product marketed under the NJ Audubon's S.A.V.E.TM brand (Support Agricultural Viability and the Environment). The S.A.V.E.TM initiative promotes the production of agricultural products that are economically and ecologically sustainable. Revenue from the birdseed benefits New Jersey farmers and directly supports NJAS's conservation mission. For every 5 acres planted for birdseed, NJAS manages and maintains 1 acre of grassland habitat for threatened and endangered birds.
And, because it is grown locally, S.A.V.E.TM Birdseed eliminates the need for extensive use of fossil fuels in transit, thus reducing its carbon footprint. In addition, the project partners are using an experimental cultivation technique that may capture atmospheric carbon and lock it into the soil.
Additional farmers/growers in the S.A.V.E. TM Birdseed Program include Warren County farmers Brant Gibbs of Allamuchy and Roger Woolf of Washington, along with Sussex County farmer Jeff Angle of Layton. Jim and Thomas Laine and Mark Kirby of Hillsborough and Tom Zeng of Ringoes were founding members of the project and also continue as key growers.
The "Field to Feeder" sunflower birdseed provides direct access to a local niche market for New Jersey farmers for a crop that offers them a greater price per acre than traditional grain crops, most notably corn and soybeans.
At the same time, there are other associated benefits to the farmers. "I have been getting calls from people asking me what else I sell other than sunflowers. They are interested in buying my other products because they heard that I am working with (NJ) Audubon," Mark Kirby, a Hillsborough grower, related in 2009, after the first season that S.A.V.E. TM Birdseed went to market. And, with the attention that his bright, blooming fields of sunflowers have been getting this year from onlookers, Mark sees this opportunity as even greater: "We had over 100 people come to our farm in Hillsborough, NJ, to photograph and see the flowers in July. They (the fields) were the talk of the town."
Phil Brodhecker of Brodhecker Farms called his fields on Route 15 in Sparta "the buzz of the County," adding that on weekends he saw up to 30 cars parked alongside the road to photograph and observe the golden flowers. Both Brodhecker and Kirby reported widespread appeal of the project, noting that onlookers included not just local residents, but also more long distance travelers from places like New York City, Paterson and Jersey City.
The partnership with farmers is an exciting new opportunity for NJ Audubon and farmers, with the potential to allow each group to meet goals and objectives that they never could have alone.
Tom Gilmore, President, NJ Audubon Society, explained, "From the beginning, the concept behind this S.A.V.E.TM initiative has been our outgrowth of our NJ Audubon mission. We strive to achieve our conservation objectives through better connecting people with the land and the natural world. By working with New Jersey farmers on this project, we can directly connect consumers of our birdseed to local agricultural communities and habitat restoration within them."
NJAS has seen strong benefits to grasslands it is managing as part of the project at the South Branch Wildlife Management Area in Raritan and Hillsborough Townships. Eastern Meadowlark, American Kestrel, Bobolinks and Grasshopper Sparrows have all been recorded onsite using the fields.
For more information about the project and to see a full list of NJA centers, participating retailers and farmers or place an online order for S.A.V.E. TM Birdseed, please visit www.njaudubon.org.