“There was enough fruit to produce hundreds of bottles of cider,” recalls Hammond, who quickly secured permission to harvest the crop and has since hosted a workshop and a tasting on the burial grounds – also home to more than a dozen beehives.
Green-Wood, which markets its honey under the witty “Sweet Hereafter” label, is far from the only aging graveyard to seek agricultural income. The Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., sold $6,000 worth of “Rest in Bees” honey last fall. “Believe it or not, we’re also able to charge volunteers $35 each to help harvest it,” says Paul Williams, president of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery. “They really enjoy doing it. This is a lively place now and not some forlorn relic.”
In Atlanta, juniper berries and persimmons from the circa-1850 Oakland Cemetery flavor local spirits (Old Fourth Distillery’s gin) and beer (Red Brick Brewing Co.’s Berried Skull Persimmon Lager). As Pamela Henman, marketing and public relations manager for the Historic Oakland Foundation, explains, “We’re open to anything that makes sense and is respectful of the property’s past.”