WEYMOUTH (CBS) – It Happens Here, in Weymouth. While it’s known as a town, this community south of Boston actually has a city form of government. It is home to the former Naval Airbase which is now being redeveloped to include thousands of housing units, retail and businesses.
Weymouth was settled just two years after the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, and while the Pilgrims are credited with holding the first Thanksgiving, today’s holiday feast would not be complete without a key ingredient made in Weymouth.
We are talking about Bell’s Seasoning, the savory blend of seven spices, packaged in the iconic yellow box with a blue turkey on the cover.
“We are proud to be the oldest seasoning and spice brand in the country,” company marketing director Meredith Rappaport told WBZ-TV.
According to Rappaport, the blend was created by William G. Bell in the kitchen of his Newton home back in 1867.
“He sold it through a push cart in Faneuil Hall,” Rappaport said. Bells was originally designed to use as seasoning on any meat, poultry or fish, but it has become synonymous with Thanksgiving.
Now owned by Brady Enterprises, the recipe hasn’t changed at all in 150 years. The ingredients, rosemary, oregano, sage, marjoram, thyme, ginger and pepper are listed right on the box, but according to Rappaport, the exact amounts and mixing method is top secret.
The factory, located in South Weymouth near two local breweries, churns out about a million boxes of the popular seasoning every year. But that’s not all they make. The day we visited, boxes of stuffing were pumping out of the production line. The Bell’s brand also makes gravy and even those crispy fried onions that go on top of the green bean casserole that is as much a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey in many families.
According to Rappaport, the company gets hundreds of requests this time of year from people to ship the seasoning all over the world.
“It’s just that bit of sage in there that just smells like Thanksgiving,” she said.