Peacham, Vermont - May 6, 2011
Wendy Mackenzie uses her dining room to serve up something you wouldn't expect. She makes organic floral and herb-based beauty and home products. This day she was making one of her best sellers-- lip balm.
Reporter Gina Bullard: What's the difference between your lip balm and Chapstick?
Wendy Mackenzie: There's a big difference. Chapstick is petroleum-based. We're going to use all natural herbs and oils, essential oils that are plant-based; everything is going to be good for you.
She grows almost everything for her Everlasting Herb Farm line on her Peacham property, things like Milky Oats, rose, red clover and hops.
"I fill these jars three-quarters full with organic olive oil and put them in the sun to infuse for three weeks," Mackenzie explained.
Once she strains them she gets an infused oil and adds things like bees wax and sesame oil. Every ingredient has a purpose.
"We use calendula because it's got a good affinity for the skin; it's healing for the skin. We use lemon balm because it's antiviral, so it's good for cold sores and preventing that kind of thing," she said. "Cocoa butter because it's going to be emollient for the skin and has a wonderful chocolate smell."
My favorite part-- they will not melt in a hot car.
"Your lips don't make moisture so that's why you have to add it," Mackenzie explained.
After boiling the concoction she tests it to make sure it's the right consistency.
Bullard: It feels like lip balm. Can I put it on my lips?
Mackenzie: Yup! And in an emergency situation you can eat it.
Next comes the flavoring-- lime, vanilla, peppermint or lavender. A small tube of this lip-smacking treat costs $3. The big one is $5. Mackenzie also uses her herbalist training to make things like salves, oils and room sprays.
"This is a really good cream if people have split fingertips or cracked heels and this time of year in this state, who doesn't? Really good if you have dry skin or your hands go in and out of water a lot-- this takes the pain away," Mackenzie said.
She only uses essential oils for fragrance and flavoring her products.
"This is plant-based not chemical-based, so it's better for people," she said.
If you don't like a scent or consistency she can custom make anything you dream up.
Mackenzie said, "Being an herbalist-- it's not all about the cultivated plants. It's a lot about the weeds. The ones that people love to hate."
Vermont-made products that really are the 'balm.'
Gina Bullard - WCAX News - Made in Vermont
PO Box 4508