Our state may be small, but we have a long history riddled with ingenuity, innovation, and inventiveness, especially in the Northeast Kingdom. Because of our relatively secluded location (stopping at the neighbors for some sugar sometimes meant a three-mile hike one-way) our ancestors had to get creative with what they had and make their own of whatever it was they needed. Sometimes, we saw the value in our concoctions and we naturally wanted to share them with everyone. That's why all across the United States you can find one of the Northeast Kingdom's best original inventions: the miraculous ointment, Bag Balm.
Local lore speaks of Bag Balm's journey from barns into the bedroom vanity set when dairy farmers' wives noticed their husbands' callused hands turn smooth after using the salve on the udders of cows. Rumors about the miraculous salve spread quickly and the versatility and ability of the ointment to moisturize quickly made it a staple in every home. Explorers of the North Pole took Bag Balm to protect their lips and skin from arctic winds and a few years later, it was used on the front lines of World War II to maintain and lubricate weapons; after the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground on 9/11, Bag Balm was used on the scratched paws of search dogs who roamed over the jagged rubble looking for survivors. From the athlete's foot of the champion runner to the cracked udders of the family farm's cows, Bag Balm has been repairing skin in a way your average dime-store moisturizer just can't. And it was all born on a small, simple farm within the rugged landscape of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.
Today, it's still a small operation. Six employees mix four ingredients in a one-room "plant" in a cluster of converted railroad buildings in Lyndonville. Shoveled from 50 gallon drums into a large vat and then blended with lanolin from Uruguay, a machine quickly squirts the salve into its iconic green tins where it is cooled, packaged, and shipped. It hasn't changed much, if at all, over the years, but when you've got something this good, why would you?
So while you're here in the Kingdom, pick up some of Vermont's Original skin-saving salve. From chapstick to hand lotion, Bag Balm products make great gifts for yourself and for friends and family members that they will truly appreciate. Just look for the famous green and red tins with a cow's head on it. To learn more about Bag Balm's heritage or browse the variety of products online, visit the website.