In March, 2019, Luke McGarry, one of the Cemetery Directors at Albany Diocesan Cemeteries decided to take on a historic experiment at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, NY. With permission from Executive Director Rick Touchette, Luke tapped 6 large maple trees at the top of Founders Hill, the oldest section in the cemetery. The taps he used are called Tree Saver Taps that do not harm the trees or shorten their lifespan.
This was the first time to our knowledge that trees have been tapped in the cemetery.
The taps remained in the trees for two weeks and produced 42 gallons of sap. The sap was then evaporated down to one gallon of maple syrup.
Luke distributed the limited-edition syrup to cemetery employees and saved one for the Bishop [I hope we’re not ruining a surprise!]. The staff were delighted with the syrup, and very grateful for Luke taking on the delicious experiment in his off hours!
Luke McGarry is one of 2 Cemetery Managers with Albany Diocesan Cemeteries and oversees 11 out of 18 of our cemeteries including St. Agnes.
Next year, Luke will be celebrating his 20th anniversary with us, and what we hope will be his 2nd year of maple syrup production at Historic St. Agnes Cemetery!
Update: In October, 2019, Nick Hines with Matador Network, an international travel website contacted us with questions about our maple syrup project. You can read his article which mentions St. Agnes Cemetery here: https://matadornetwork.com/read/whiskey-maple-syrup-graveyard/
Thanks for including us Nick and Matador!