A great slow cooker spiced recipe!

Holiday Sampler DSC_0729

With Fall on the weather map and the holidays not too far away, spice baskets and bundles are becoming a hot item again! And fall always brings great slow cooker spiced recipes!

I have to try this new recipe in the slow cooker. It’s a 5 spice powder meatball concoction! I don’t have any 5 spice powder but I looked it up -

I do have 1 tsp. J.O. Spice Cinnamon, 1 tsp. J.O. Spice ground cloves, 1 tsp. J.O. Spice Fennel Seed*, 1 tsp. J.O. Spice star anise*, and 1 tsp. ground Szechwan pepper which are the ingredients for Chinese 5 spice powder. I have read where people don’t have Szechwan pepper so they just use regular black pepper or the 5 peppercorns blends…J.O. does sell both green and pink peppercorns, FYI. Some people also substitute allspice for the anise…I think it’s all in what you have, what you want to taste and your tastebuds. Either way, give your tastebuds a party!

*You will need to toast and then grind both of these.  Place some seeds on a baking sheet or saute pan, let heat until you can smell them, then either grind in a mortar and pestle or in your blender. Star Anise is hard to grind down manually but you can do it. It’s worth all the hard work for the flavor!

After you have prepared the J.O. Fennel Seed and the J.O. Star Anise, combine them with the other 3 spices -blend them together in the blender or mortar and pestle. (Store the remaining spice in an air tight container and use on tilapia fillets with some brown sugar and soy sauce or sprinkle on top of chicken and bake with soy sauce. I think you’ll find that a little bit of work amount to huge TASTE payoffs!)

Make your meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds  ground meatloaf mix (beef, pork and veal)
  • cup  panko bread crumbs
  • eggs, lightly beaten
  • scallions, sliced, plus more for garnish
  • tablespoons  finely chopped ginger root
  • teaspoon  onion powder
  • teaspoon  Chinese five-spice powder (just a side note, this can be bought in the store but they say it’s fresher to do yourself.)
  • tablespoon  reduced-sodium soy sauce

Make these meatballs big -about a 1/3 cup each.

Combine these ingredients:

  • cup  beef broth
  • 1/2 cup  ketchup
  • can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • tablespoons  rice vinegar

Pour into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the meatballs. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8. It’s heaven. It’s just a small way to fall back in love with slow cooker recipes. This recipe might seem like a lot of work…but there are so many spices that can make a great meal.

What are you cooking this weekend in your slow cooker?

:) Pamela

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Fall back in love with slow cooker spiced recipes!

chicken salad  slow cooker

Fall is back! Fall back in love with your slow cooker and the great SPICED recipes that come from slow cooking! It’s amazing what you can do with spice,  y’know? Have you tried? What are your most amazing recipes that you would never have done if it were not for a specific spice?

I would not have fallen back in love with chicken salad had I never tried the Rotisserie Chicken Spice Seasoning from J.O. It really adds a great flavor to chicken and even potatoes if you love to bake up a potato! I will sometimes boil the chicken with the spice if I’m in a hurry; sometimes I will roast the whole chicken after I’ve rubbed the seasoning all over the chicken and cover it so that it stays moist. If I’m just using chicken breasts, I give them a good coating and bake, adding a little bit of water and wine to the bottom of the pan. When you are making chicken salad, adding celery, maybe onion, maybe carrots, and mayonnaise or some type of dressing, I like to make sure the chicken is seasoned so I will go heavier on the seasoning on the chicken so that the salad is that much more flavorful.

Adding chicken/beef broth or beer or sherry or white wine to your meat and spicing it up with Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, Cajun, Venison/Steak Seasoning, or J.O. Garlic Pepper and J.O. Chili Powder and just letting the meat slow cook for hours…it’s amazing the meals you can come up with!

All I did was cook 5 chicken breasts inside chicken broth and 2 cans of beer and sprinkled with J.O. Garlic Pepper…let them cook for 8 hours. Then I split them up and made

1. BBQ pulled chicken using J.O. BBQ spice and a prepared can of BBQ sauce

2. Chili using 3 cans of tomatoes with the chili’s and J.O. XHot chili powder, J.O. Cumin and beans

3. Chicken Cacciatore  adding J.O. Chopped Onions, J.O. Italian Seasoning, J.O. Minced Garlic, with 3 cans of stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and more chicken broth

4. Chicken tacos using taco seasoning, 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes and frozen corn

I’ve had dinners for 3 weeks now, all because I took a Sunday and while watching football, let the slow cooker cook up some chicken!

Fall back in love with slow cooking! What are you going to spice your food up with?

:) Pamela

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Roles with spice company season life for Carroll couple

Roles with spice company season life for Carroll couple

*Reprinted from baltimoresun.com September 28, 2014

J.O. Spice ownersMount Airy residents Donald and Ginger Ports head J.O. Spice Co., which supplies 800 restaurants, crab houses and carry-outs from New Jersey to the Outer Banks with seasoning for crabs. (Photo by Nicole Munchel / September 12, 2014)
By Mary K. Tilghman8:12 a.m. EDT, September 22, 2014

The crabs piled on a table for a backyard crab feast, hot and spicy, are probably sprinkled with a unique taste many in the area associate with summer in Maryland.

If the crabs came from one of the metro area’s carryout restaurants or crab houses, more than likely the seasoning isn’t the iconic Old Bay. Chances are, it’s a seasoning mix produced by a company run by a Carroll County couple.

This is no McCormick with its giant campus in Hunt Valley and hundreds of employees.

J.O. Spice Co., in Halethorpe, is family run and employs a couple dozen people to produce seafood seasonings, as well as a whole line of products to spice up meat, fish and poultry.

“You go to a restaurant and you eat your crabs, and you think you’re eating Old Bay,” said Ginger Ports, vice president of marketing and sales for J.O. Spice Co.

And, said Mount Airy resident, that’s fine. “That’s a Maryland icon. There’s a place for that product,” she said.

“Old Bay is in the grocery store,” she said. “J.O. is in the restaurants.”

Ginger Ports works in the office next to her husband’s in the spice company’s headquarters in the southwestern portion of Baltimore County, a short distance from the Anne Arundel County border.

Donald Ports, the president, is from the third generation of the original family to run the business.

His grandfather, James Ozzie Strigle, a Tangier Island, Va., waterman, and his wife Dot, started J.O Spice Co. in a Baltimore storefront in 1945.

Don Ports, a Catonsville High School graduate, served in the U.S. Marine Corps before taking over operations at the spice company, then located on Hammonds Ferry Road, only a few miles from its present site.

The company, which produces its own combinations of spices, has been growing ever since.

J.O. Spice moved to its current location 24 years ago. Last December, it doubled its size when it took the adjacent 14,000-square-foot space for spice-mixing operations, a gift shop and specialty items.

With her youngest child in middle school, Ginger Ports, a long-time stay-at-home mom, considered getting a job when Don suggested that she work for J.O. Spice.

“Let’s keep it in the family,” he said.

One of her first projects was the custom crab mallet.

“It was the mallets that brought me in,” she said.

Don Ports bought the engraver and she began selling custom mallets to restaurants and for parties and even weddings. They sold 650,000 that first year and 800,000 last year.

Settling in

The couple moved to Sykesville soon after their marriage and now live in Mount Airy. They chose Carroll County, in part, because of the school system, and they like the slower pace after long days in the spice business.

“It’s more relaxed out there, slower, not as stressful,” Don Ports said.

The couple have three children and have been active in their community, especially Ginger Ports.

She participates every year in the American Cancer Society‘s Relay for Life. She worked first with a team in Sykesville, then formed a team six years ago called Colleen’s Crusaders, in memory of a friend who had ovarian cancer.

She also volunteered at youngest daughter Brittany’s school, Piney Ridge Elementary, and at Winfield Elementary, which Tyler and Bethany attended.

A soccer mom, she spent lots of time taking her son to games with his travel team.

“We were always, soccer, soccer, soccer and more soccer,” she said.

Tyler, now 19, is at Carroll Community College, studying golf management. He works at Rattlewood Golf Course in Mt. Airy, where this summer he taught golf to children.

Brittany, 21, hopes one day to take over J.O. Spice Co. She is studying business at Carroll Community College.

Bethany, 15, attends South Carroll High School.

All three have worked for J.O. Spice, doing everything from sweeping floors to sticking labels on bottles to stocking the store and running the cash register.

“Just because they were family, they didn’t get special treatment,” said Don Ports. “They probably had to work harder.”

Running a business meant a lot of time away from the kids for Don and now for both parents — although weekends usually remain open, Don said. The family had its first summer vacation together four years ago.

Now that she spends as much time in the office as her husband does, his wife understands his level of commitment.

“Working together has improved our marriage,” she said as her husband nodded in agreement.

Now, she explained, she understands the long hours and the customer service that gets Don Ports in the car to make a delivery on a Sunday evening.

Busy season

For a small family run company, they have a big job. Ginger Ports said there are some 800 Mid-Atlantic restaurants, crab houses and carryouts among its regular customers.

Local crab houses, as well as seafood houses from New Jersey to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, are their main focus. Another 25 distributors handle orders in North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey and New York. Small as it is, J.O. is spicing things up as far away as Australia and Singapore, too.

With the company delivering its spice mixes directly to restaurants and crab houses, you might not have heard of it. “J.O. has always been on the wholesale side,” Ginger Ports said.

Locally, restaurants such as the Woodbine Inn, Salerno’s, Park’s Landing, Winfield Inn, Captain Bob’s Manchester, Steamin Mad Crabs in Hampstead, and Casa Rico’s use J.O. Spice.

The familiar yellow and blue Old Bay can, on the other hand, is stocked in major retail outlets. “It’s a consumer brand and a consumer item,” said Laurie Harrsen, McCormick’s director of public relations and consumer communications. “That’s the way it started.”

Old Bay, marking its 75th anniversary, is available wholesale for restaurants and, to a small degree, for companies with licensing agreements to use the spice blend in their products.

“Primarily, it’s a consumer business,” Harrsen said. “That’s a good, long-standing heritage.

McCormick, which bought the brand in 1991, produced 50 million ounces — 3.1 million pounds — of Old Bay last year, she said.

J.O. produces enough spice to season 7 million to 12 million bushels of crabs a year. Some 1,750 to 3,000 tons of raw materials produce 3.5 to 6 million pounds of spice blends every year, according to Ports.

Spice only begins to describe J.O.’s participation in the traditional crab feast. They print bushel boxes for crab houses, stock brown paper to spread on the tables for crab feasts, order crab mallets by the trailer truck-full. They stock big paper bags and even vinegar, too.

“We literally provide everything but the crabs,” she said.

Since the demand for crab seasoning tends to drop in the off season, J.O. started a small gift shop in an unused space a few years ago. It expanded when the facilities grew last winter.

The diversity of their products keeps the staff working year round, Ports said. The work may change according to the season but “it keeps them busy,” Ports said. That way, she explained, there are no layoffs, or temporary employees and everybody works full time, with holidays and two weeks at Christmas off.

“Everyone is like a family,” she said.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/carroll/westminster/ph-ce-jo-spice-carroll-2-20140922,0,2691291.story#ixzz3EL7n9f00

Thanks for reading another great article!

:) Pamela

Posted in All the news that's fit to print!, J.O. Spice is NICE! | Leave a comment

“All Baltimoreans know that J.O. Spice is where its at.” – direct quote.

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

It’s all true Charm City.

1. It’s Perfectly Acceptable To Address Everyone As “Hon”

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: Facebook user Honfest

Some Marylanders take offense to the stereotype of the “hon” but not Baltimoreans. They’re loud and proud about it, hon! They even have a “Honfest” that celebrates true hon culture.

So get your hair done up, put on those fake eyelashes, and get ready for a hon parade cause this is Baltimore.

2. There Is Nothing Better On The Planet Than Berger’s Cookies

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: Flickr user Emily-Carlton

This classic, chocolatey, delicious Baltimore snack is not meant to be eaten lightly… you need at least a pound of Berger’s or you’re doing something wrong with your life. Quit being an amateur.

3. Except Maybe Kicking Back And Drinking Natty Boh All Day

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: Flickr user newskin0

National Bohemian Beer was brewed in Baltimore before recently being bought out by Pabst. But Baltimoreans don’t care. To them, it will always be the beer that defines their city.

This is, and will forever be, the beer any true Baltimorean craves on a hot summer day at the beach or while watching an Orioles game. It’s Natty Boh, or nothing.

4. Baltimoreans Have Complicated Feelings About “The Wire”

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: giphy.com

No matter how much they deny it, Baltimoreans secretly love “The Wire” and the notoriety it gives the city. Plus, watching the show and seeing their neighborhoods, stores, and schools as sets is actually a pretty awesome thing about living in Baltimore.

5. Utz Potato Chips Are The Greatest Thing That Ever Happened To The Potato

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: Facebook user Utz Snacks

Utz Potato chips are a way of life in Baltimore. Sprinkle a little J.O. Spice on them and you’re golden. Yum.

6. Wondering Who The Heck The Poe Toaster Is, And Where The Heck He Went

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: wikimedia user midnight dreary

If you’re a true Baltimorean, you’ve undoubtedly tried to get a glimpse of the Poe Toaster—a mysterious man who visited the grave of Poe on Poe’s birthday, leaving only a rose and a bottle of cognac behind.

The tradition went on for 75 years, and though it has since stopped, many Baltimoreans still visit the grave on Poe’s birthday to see if he’ll return. This is just one of those Baltimore traditions that’ll never really die.

7. Love The Orioles Or G.T.F.O (Especially You Nationals Fans)

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: blogspot user nats55

There’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned baseball rivalry to make a city. Almost all Baltimoreans (with any good sense in them) root tirelessly for the Baltimore Orioles. However, an unfortunate few still pledge loyalty to the Washington Nationals (for God knows what reason…)

So, Nationals fans beware. This is the Orioles’ city. And they’re proud of it.

8. The Need To Eat All The Delicious Crabs You Can Get Your Hands On

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: Facebook user Schultz’s Crab House

Everyone knows that Baltimore has the best blue crabs in all of Maryland. Don’t believe me? Head to the Baltimore Crab Festival. Or, better yet, the Baltimore Crab and Beer Festival.

Baltimoreans know how to make crab in a million different ways and could serve it to you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tip: you eat crabs with your hands. Utensils are not for true Baltimoreans.

9. A Holiday Hubcap At Nacho Mama’s Makes The World A Better (And Drunker) Place

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

SOurce: Nacho Mama’s

All Baltimoreans know the best place to drink on a Friday night is Nacho Mama’s. Where else will you get to have a cheap, hubcap-sized margarita? The answer is nowhere. So drink up and enjoy. Plus, the nachos are, well, amazing.

10. Yelling At People About J.O. Spice Being Better Than Old Bay Just Comes Naturally To Baltimoreans

10 Things Only People From Baltimore Will Understand

Source: J.O. Spice

All Baltimoreans know that J.O. Spice is where it’s at. If someone tells you its Old Bay, they’re clearly an outsider. So away with you, Baltimorean posers.

 

*Reposted from movoto.com/baltimore-md website – posted August 28, 2014

Proud to be a Baltmorean? LOVE J.O.? Let us know! Review us on our website – we love to spread the love of spice all over!!!

Thanks for being a J.O. Fan!!!!

:) Pamela

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#13 and # 22 ~ more and more news!

Reposted from the Movoto website

1. Maryland Does Crab Cakes Like No Place In The World

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user adamisserlis

If Maryland is known for anything, its crab—especially blue crab. Steamed, fried, in cake-form. No matter how you have it, Maryland crab is the best.

But, let’s be honest, Maryland crab cakes are out of this world. Don’t believe me? Head to Faidley Seafood in Baltimore or the best crab cakes you’ll ever taste.

2. Forget Your Block, In Maryland Your County Is Your Family

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user CraigShipp.com Photos

One of the first things you’ll notice when you move to Maryland is that there is a lot of county pride—each county is really known for something unique—there are even nicknames for counties (MoCo, HoCo, PG…etc.).

When you tell people what county you’re from, it’s like telling them part of your identity. Basically, your county is your family (often, literally!).

3. If Maryland Was A Flavor It Would Be Old Bay Seasoning

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user Steve Snodgrass

People generally associate Old Bay Seasoning with two things: Maryland and seafood. But if you’re a true Marylander, you know that Old Bay goes on pretty much anything you can think of (um, hello, Old Bay fries and Old Bay popcorn? Amazing).

4. There’s Nothing More Maryland Than Natty Boh

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user sidewalk flying

National Bohemian, or as it’s known to everyone in Maryland, “Natty Boh” is how Maryland gets down. In fact, 90 percent of all Natty Boh sales are from Maryland. This will always be a Maryland beer.

After all, Mr. Boh lost his eye so this state could drink beer in peace.

5. The Baltimore Ravens Are Maryland’s Salvation

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user Keith Allison

It was a sad, sad day in Maryland when the Colts left Marylanders for Indianapolis. They thought they’d never get over it.

So, after a brief phase of rooting for the Redskins (it was a dark time) Marylanders were finally blessed with an awesome, super-bowl-worthy football team: The Ravens (yes, named after Poe’s Raven…one more win for the lit geeks of Maryland!).

6. So, Naturally, All Marylanders Will Resent The Colts Forever

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move ThereThere is some serious hatred for The Colts in Maryland. After they abandoned Maryland for Indianapolis, there is absolutely no reason anyone in Maryland in his or her right mind would still root for them.

7. The Baltimore Orioles Are “O”-Mazing

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user Keith Allison

The Oriole’s are O-tastic—and everyone in the state of Maryland knows this.

Maryland is responsible for that wonderful National Anthem we all sing at the beginning of sports events, afterall. “O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave…”

8. Everyone In Maryland Has A Favorite Musical, And That Musical Is “Hairspray,” Hon!

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user Bev Sykes

If you’re going to be a Marylander, you should probably memorize the soundtrack to “Hairspray.” In school, you learn the lyrics to “Good Morning, Baltimore” before you learn your ABCs. True story.

So, get ready to be singing show tunes to represent the awesomeness of being a hon in Maryland!

9. Speaking of Hons… If You Want To Fit In You Have To Learn The Maryland Lingo

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move ThereIf you’re moving to Maryland, get ready to call everyone and their mother “Hon”—it’s just the polite, Maryland way to refer to a lady.

And while on the topic of things Marylanders say. No. 1: It’s not Maryland. It’s Mare-lin. Like Marilyn, kind of. And nobody washes their hands. They “warsh” them.

Got it, hon? Good.

10. Icy Delights’ Snowballs In the Summer Make Marylander’s World Go Round

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user Icy Delights

Until you’ve tried an Icy Delight’s Snowball, you haven’t really lived. Icy Delights has a ton of unique flavors to choose from and are the epitome of a summer day in Maryland. Nice try, Rita’s but nothing beats homemade Icy Delights!

11. Ledo’s Pizza Is The Best Thing Since Sliced Square Pizza

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user Ledo Pizza

All Marylanders can agree that Ledo’s square-shaped pizza is out of this world. You don’t know Maryland until you indulge in Ledo’s. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

12. Maryland Is Home To A Baseball Battlefield

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user United States Naval Academy

The United States Naval Academy is located in Annapolis. So, as you can imagine, Maryland has some serious Navy love.

This also means the US Army-Navy game one of the state’s favorite sporting events. In case you were wondering, Navy leads in this annual tradition, 58-49. But the real winner of this game… America, obviously!

13. Maryland Has One Seriously Spicy Rivalry

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user J.O. Spice

Remeber when i said Old Bay is the flavor of Maryland, well…. thats really only half the story.

Old Bay definitely is some Marylanders favorite spice, but for indie spice lovers it’s all about J.O.

The population is split about 50/50 on who prefers Old Bay and who prefers J.O. Spice. And while J.O. is definitely lesser known, this family business has been spicing up Maryland since 1945.

14. Sunrises on Maryland Beaches Will Make You Cry Tears With Angel Wings

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user fahringerbrock

Regardless of where you watch the sunrise from a Maryland beach, you will NOT be disappointed. There’s no better place in the world to watch the sun come up over the water. Whether you go to Ocean City, North Beach, or Assateague (yes, this is the best place to watch it, but we’ll get to that in a minute…) you’re going to feel blessed. After all, Maryland’s beaches are the cleanest, nicest beaches in the U.S.

15. The Real Bronies Live In Maryland

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user m01229

Maryland is home to not one, but two, wild islands—Assateague and Chincoteague Islands. These islands are both filled with wildlife, oysters, biking and, of course beautiful, quiet, clean beaches.

However, that’s not all. These islands are also home to wild ponies! Like, straight out of the best dream of your life, wild ponies appear on the beach. No joke.

16. Maryland Has Free Books For Everyone!

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook User The Book Thing Of Baltimore

The Book Thing Of Baltimore is like heaven on earth for literary geeks: it’s a bookstore with thousands of free books. Yes, free books. Stacks and stacks of, ’em.

This non-profit, volunteer driven bookstore has one goal: to make sure books get into the hands of book lovers for no cost. That’s just the way Maryland works.

So get your lit geek on at The Book Thing of Baltimore.

17. There is Nothing Lax About John Hopkins’ Lacrosse Team

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user Johns Hokins Lacrosse

Lacrosse is Maryland’s official state team sport. Which explains all of the lax bros with lax sticks tattooed on their chests (really…).

While everyone loves watching any and all Maryland colleges play lacrosse, there’s no doubt about it: Johns Hopkins is, by far, the best lacrosse team in the state and the most loved.

So if you’re moving to Maryland, get ready to play (or at least watch) some lax, brah.

18. You Can’t Help But Cheer For Maryland’s University Sports Teams

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook User University of Maryland

Maryland has some great college sports teams, and even more enthusiastic fans. Don’t believe us? Head to any University of Maryland, Loyola Maryland, or Johns Hopkins sporting events and you will witness the insane fandom first hand.

No matter which college you root for, there’s nothing like rooting on your Maryland college sports!

19. The Fresh Fruit On Maryland’s Farms Will Change Your Life Forever

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user Baugher’s Orchard and Farm

Maryland is full of farmland. And that farmland is filled with delicious fruit: apples, cherries, peaches, blueberries, you name it.

Maryland is proud of it’s farm-to-table attitude and either grow their own fruit, or buy local. Because, why outsource when the freshest fruit is right here?

A local favorite? Baugher’s Orchards. Go apple picking here and make the best apple pie you’ll ever taste.

20. Find Something Bizarre At Baltimore’s Bazaar

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook use Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar

The Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar is not only filled with fresh, local produce but also really crazy, weird, unique arts, crafts, jewelry, clothes, second-hand furniture, etc.

Basically, if you’re looking for something unique or quirky, head to the Baltimore Bazaar and be pleasantly surprised!

21. Heavy Seas Brewing Company Is A Local Brew Worth Toasting To

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user Heavy Seas Alehouse

There are few things Marylanders love more than a good local brew. So, when breweries like Heavy Seas do their thing, Marylanders raise their glasses.

Take a tour at Heavy Seas brewery or head to Heavy Seas Ale House for incredible food with your amazing, Maryland-brewed beer.

22. The Breakfast Sandwiches At THB’s Are Seriously Worth Waking Up For

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Facebook user Towson Hot Bagels

Towson Hot Bagels knows how to make a breakfast sandwich and we are oh-so glad they do.

Going to THB’s on a Saturday morning is like heaven on earth. THB’s is part of the reason any Marylander is glad to be from Maryland. Put a little J.O. spice on it and you’re good to go!

23. Quoth The Raven, Nevermore…

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Wikimedia user midnightdreary

The literary giant, Edgar Allen Poe, wrote many of his most famous short stories, poems, and science fiction in Baltimore. His writing inspired poets and playwrights all over the city, and a love for Poe extends throughout the state.

He was buried in Baltimore and, for almost seven decades, a mysterious “Poe toaster” would come to the grave on Poe’s birthday, pour a shot of cognac, and raise a toast to Poe, leaving only an unfinished bottle of cognac and some red roses behind at the gravesite.

This went on for 75 years until the tradition ended in 2006 for an unknown reason, but all Marylanders like to think one day the “Poe toaster” will return…

24. Maryland’s State Flag Is Better Than Your State Flag. Definitely

24 Things You Need To Know About Maryland Before You Move There

Source: Flickr user marabuchi

Marylanders have a lot of state flag pride… and we can see why. It’s freakin’ glorious.

No other state in the country has a flag that looks like it just came straight out of “Game of Thrones.” Seriously. This is probably why Marylanders make sure to have a ton of state flag paraphernalia on them at all times.

What do you love about living in Maryland? Leave a comment and let us know!

http://www.movoto.com/md/moving-to-maryland/

This article ran online on movoto.com, August 12, 2014 ~ I copied the entire article – no revisions or editing done – just the way it was posted!

Enjoy reading and deciding to move to Bawlmer, hon!,

:) Pamela

Posted in All the news that's fit to print!, J.O. Spice is NICE! | Leave a comment

This is from ChesapeakeLiving.com

Reposted from ChesapeakeLiving.com

shrimp and jo

The Chesapeake Bay’s Spice: Old Bay or J.O.? Never Heard of J.O.?

by

Nothing says Chesapeake Bay more than Old Bay and crabs, or Old Bay and just about anything seafood, right? Turns out the reddish seasoning on your crabs and shrimp may not be Old Bay, but rather another spice blend that’s been around nearly as long.

Baltimore Sun reports if you’re buying from a carry-out or crab house, more than likely it’s J.O Spice.

J.O. is also in regional products that you may have simply assumed were spiced with Old Bay, such as Route 11 Chips.

 

“Old Bay is in the grocery store,” Ginger Ports, vice president of marketing and sales for J.O. Spice Co told the Sun. “J.O. is in the restaurants.”

Is it a bait-and-switch? Turns out, no. Old Bay was started in 1939 by a German immigrant fleeing Nazi Germany. J.O. Spice began in 1945 by a couple born and raised on Tangier Island, Virginia, J.O. (James Ozzle) Strigle and his wife Dot.

Both companies set up spice shops in Baltimore. They both have secret recipes, but share the basics: celery salt, red and black peppers and paprika. Several online cooking websites swear they’ve discovered the Old Bay recipe.

No one much cares to break down the J.O. combination, although J.O. claims to use a “custom blend using ingredients and a special salt, which adhere to the steamed crab.”

Old Bay went big-time when it was bought by McCormack & Company in 1990. J.O. stayed a family-owned company based in an industrial park just outside the Baltimore beltway on the Washington, DC, side.

J.O. Retail Store opened in April, 2014 in Halethorpe, MD

Unlike Old Bay, it has a factory outlet at the warehouse, next to the corporate office. The way factory outlets used to be.

Old Bay’s outlet is in Baltimore’s Harborplace.

That just about sums up the difference between the two spices.

The Sun reports you won’t find J.O Spice in a Safeway, but the grocery story chain does steam its shrimp in J.O.’s No. 1 blend.

This article ran on ChesapeakeLiving.com, August 2014 ~Written by Staff. I copied the entire article – no revisions or editing done – just the way it was posted!

Enjoy reading another great article,

:) Pamela

 

 

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J.O. has been around since 1945 ~ can we get credit for 70 years of hard work & dedication too?

crabs at crab bag

In the past few weeks, there have been a number of journalistic…ummm….blunders shall we say?

John Stamos found “true love” in Ocean City…but what SPICE was it that John Stamos was eating? Reprinted off the Baltimore Sun website:

John Stamos finds ‘true love’ in Ocean City

Uncle Jesse from ‘Full House’ posts crab feast photo on Instagram

July 28, 2014|By Colin Campbell | The Baltimore Sun

Move over Aunt Becky. Uncle Jesse found “true love” in Ocean City this weekend.

John Stamos, who played the lovable goofball uncle to the infant Olsen twins in “Full House” and is promoting his new rom-com, “My Man is a Loser,” posted a picture of a mountain of hard-shell crabs to Instagram on Sunday. The caption: “Found true love in Ocean City MD.”

Stamos, who also plays guitar and drums, was in the area performing with The Beach Boys. The band played in New Jersey on Saturday night and Delaware on Sunday, and has shows in Lancaster, Pa., on Monday and Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, according to its website.

In his new film, Stamos, 50, plays a suave, Will-Smith-in-”Hitch”-type playboy who tries to teach his two married friends how to win back their bored wives. It premiered in theaters Friday, before Stamos hit the beach for some of Maryland’s famous, Old Bay-coated crustaceans.

The Crab Bag, at 130th Street and Coastal Highway, served up the crab dinner to Stamos. The restaurant was voted “best crabs” in Ocean City in The Sun’s “Best of OC” poll in May.

Oprah was seen out and about in Baltimore but again -Journalists who don’t research -what SPICE was Oprah eating?  Reprinted from the baltimore.cbslocal.com website….

Old Bay And Crabs: It’s What Oprah Does–While Visiting Baltimore

August 7, 2014 7:12 AM
(Credit: Instagram)

(Credit: Instagram)

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — She may be queen of the Windy City, but she still knows how to eat like a Baltimorean.

Oprah Winfrey, a former anchor here at WJZ-TV, dined at Captain James Landing Wednesday.

The billionaire media mogul posted a picture on Instagram with longtime partner Stedman Graham, smiling and enjoying crabs.

“Crab feast in Baltimore! #CaptainJames,” read the caption.

Winfrey became an anchor here at WJZ-TV in 1976 and later went on to co-host the local talk show “People Are Talking” with Richard Sher.

In 1984, she moved to Chicago to host her own morning talk show.

J.O. Spice would just like to point out that both Captain James and The Crab Bag are customers of J.O….while we believe wholeheartedly that competition makes the world go round and round…we do like to give credit where credit is due. What spice is on the fries down in Ocean City? It’s not J.O. and we won’t be happy if you say it is because it’s a Flat. Out. Lie.

This world is big enough for Coke & Pepsi, for tissues & Kleenex, for Ghirardelli & Hershey’s, for Old Bay & J.O. But just like all of us, we’d just like to be given some credit that we are here and we are working hard to stay! A small business in the midst of big…now that’s cause for celebration.

We’ve been around since 1945, and just want to be recognized for hard work, dedication to our customers and for contributing to great memories made at crab feasts, dinners, reunions, weddings and so much more! We’re proud to be on your table and that table is big enough for the Old Bay can and the J.O. Spice bucket!

Enjoy your crab feasts,

:) Pamela

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J.O. is in the news Again!

J.O. Spice is happy to be mentioned and we thank you…but even happier that

Conrad’s Crabs is doing a great business. Visit their restaurant & enjoy!

 

Reposted from the Baltimore Sun/Taste section, August 13, 2014

Weekend waterman from Parkville becomes crab maestro

How Tony Conrad built a Maryland seafood business

By David Sturm, dsturm@tribune.com9:09 a.m. EDT, August 13, 2014

Tony Conrad started out working in an office on weekdays and crabbing on the weekend to make extra money.

Now, he operates four outlets for crabs, including Conrad’s seafood market on Joppa Road in Parkville and the new restaurant Conrad’s in Perry Hall.

He’s still out on the bay, although it’s now six days a week. And, when you eat his crabs in the evening, especially in season, there’s a good chance he caught them that morning.

Conrad said he’s not the only Baltimore-area crabhouse owner who also catches crabs, but “we can count on two hands the people who do this.”

By “we” he means he and his wife Andrea. He catches crabs and manages the seafood, she does the books and marketing.

Tony Conrad’s partner in marriage and business is the former Andrea Antonakos. They met when both were working at Michael’s Cafe in Timonium. He proposed when she graduated from Loyola College Maryland, where she majored in psychology.

In addition to the restaurant and market, the couple sells crabs from a truck in Jacksonville and operate the crab concession at Cal Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

It’s been an unusual journey for a Parkville boy who graduated from Calvert Hall College High School in 1993. He went on to Baltimore County Community College in Essex and Towson University, where he majored in criminal justice and played slot back and strong safety for the Tigers football team.

He said his family links to the seafood business go back to the Civil War era in southern Maryland.

“My ancestors would catch crabs and rockfish and feed the railroad workers,” he said.

He started out crabbing with his father, John Conrad, and then learned the commercial crabbing business from the late Bill Gunther Sr. of Harford County. He kept on catching jimmies.

“I liked doing this. It was a weekend thing to do,” he said.

He spend time working for an information technology company and a food distributor and picked up useful business skills. Finally, he felt he had a skill set worthy to start a seafood enterprise.

He told his wife he wanted to quite his weekday job and go into the seafood business full time.

“She said, ‘Are you crazy?’ ”

Across the table, Andrea Conrad just smiled.

Joppa Seafood on Joppa Road was looking for a buyer and Conrad took it over with two partners, Michael Dellis and Frank Petillo. He later bought them out.

“It was a challenge the first couple of years,” he said. “In the crab world, everyone wants crabs from the first pitch of baseball season to when the kids go back to school. Then, it drops off.”

He and his wife had long considered a restaurant and had studied various locations. He was also introduced to a chef, Joe Lancelotta, and the two hit it off.

“As soon as I met Joe, I said, ‘He’s a beast.’ He’s just like me,” Conrad said.

Mickey Cucchiella, a former disc jockey Conrad knows, tipped him to a good location. It turned out to be a tavern on Belair Road that was once the Perry Inn and, subsequently, the nightclubs Surf City and Smash Daddy’s.

Conrad went into partnership with Lancelotta and his brother, Mike Lancelotta, to buy the property. Thus began an 18-month renovation that transformed the property into a state-of-the-art crabhouse that opened in January.

He won’t divulge how many crabs he moves through the restaurant’s steam vats daily, not wishing to tip competitors.

“That’s like asking our secret recipe,” he said.

As for his crab spice, it’s a house blend mixed under Conrad’s formula by J.O. Spice Co. of Halethorpe.

Conrad operates two boats, the Hannah Marie and Ellie Christine (both named for his daughters), out of the Galloway Creek Marina in Bowley’s Quarters. He operates one with a crew of two and — along with the other boat with a crew of three — they pull in crabs beginning at 5:30 a.m. six days a week (except Sunday), returning at 1 p.m.

The restaurateur cannot catch all the crabs needed for his businesses. He supplements with crabs from watermen in Middle River and on the Eastern Shore. In the winter, they import from Louisiana.

Last week, the per-dozen restaurant prices for steamed crabs ranged from $32 for smalls up to $115 for jumbos.

Yes, Conrad admitted, the prices take your breath away.

“It’s the highest crabs have ever been. It’s horrible,” he said.

At the bar last week were Jeff Burrill and Kevin Znamirowski, who both live within walking distance. As neighbors, they said they appreciate the upgrade from the previous incarnations.

“This is the first one we’re happy about,” Burrill said. “And the crab fries here are incredible.”

“We want to see this place succeed,” Znamirowski said.

At a corner table was the Olson family from Bel Air entertaining an out-of-town guest, Colleen Reagan, of Rochester, N.Y., who said she always visits Maryland with a hankering for seafood. Awaiting their entrees, they were noshing on “the best calamari ever.”

Tina Olson was tickled. She had asked that the grouper appetizer be upsized and served as an entree.

“They said, ‘No problem.’ ”

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/parkville/ph-br-conrads-0724-20140717,0,5064278.story#ixzz3AOTOT1Jt

 

This article ran in the Baltimore Sun Taste Section, August 12, 2014 ~Written very well by David Sturm. I copied the entire article – no revisions or editing done – just the way it was written in the paper and online! Reposted from the Baltimore Sun/Taste section, August 13, 2014

Enjoy reading another great article,

:) Pamela

Posted in All the news that's fit to print!, J.O. Spice is NICE! | Leave a comment

J.O. is in the news!

nick
By Mary K. Tilghman, mtilghman@tribune.com2:40 p.m. EDT, August 12, 2014

The crabs piled on a table at a backyard crab feast, hot and spicy, are probably sprinkled with a unique taste many in the area associate with summer in Maryland.

If the crabs came from one of the area’s carryout restaurants or crab houses, more than likely the seasoning isn’t the iconic Old Bay. Chances are, it’s a seasoning mix produced in an industrial park off Sulphur Spring Road.

This is no McCormick with its giant campus in Hunt Valley and hundreds of employees. J.O. Spice Co. on Old Georgetown Road is still family run and employs a couple dozen people to produce seafood seasoning, as well as a whole line of products to spice up meat, fish and poultry.

“You go to a restaurant and you eat your crabs, and you think you’re eating Old Bay,” said Ginger Ports, vice president of marketing and sales for J.O. Spice Co.

And, Ports said, that’s fine. “That’s a Maryland icon. There’s a place for that product,” she said.

“Old Bay is in the grocery store,” she said. “J.O. is in the restaurants.”

At many area crab houses, the famous crustacean is encrusted with J.O. Spice. J.O. counts crab houses from Lansdowne to Ocean City among its regular customers, delivering both their standard seasonings as well as custom blends — and if business is good, sometimes it can be an emergency delivery, Ports said.

Sea Hut Inn on Frederick Road has been seasoning its crabs with J.O. since it opened 31 years ago, according to owner Sue Yin.

Sea Hut orders its own custom blend from J.O. “We have a little bit of everything in it,” Yin said.

“Most crab houses have their own blend,” she added.

“In my store, we use J.O. for all of our crabs,” said Barry Koluch, who owns Cravin’ Crabs in Baltimore Highlands with his father, Paul Koluch. When the Koluchs were getting ready to open Cravin’ Crabs on Annapolis Road about five years ago, J.O. mixed up small batches for the Koluchs to take home and sample.

After a few trials, they hit upon a blend that balances the salt and the heat. “We wanted it to appeal to the masses,” Koluch said.

J.O Spice Co., founded in 1945 in a Baltimore storefront, has been producing their combinations of spices — all kinds of blends, sauces and batter mixes — in Halethorpe for the past 24 years. In December, the company took over the adjacent space, a former closet company, to double their space, adding 14,000 square feet to their plant.

A family-owned operation, it was started by James Ozzie Strigle and his wife, Dot, who moved to Baltimore from Tangier Island, Va., where Strigle had been a waterman, according to the company website. Strigle produced the original, No. 1, blend to use on all seafood. The mix for crabs, No. 2, came along later, laced with the flake salt favored by steamed crab aficionados, according to Ports.

The company remains in the hands of family. Don Ports, Strigle’s grandson, is president now. Ginger Ports is his wife.

Their main focus is the local crab house — actually, seafood houses from New Jersey to Virginia with distributors taking their spices much farther. Small as they are, J.O. is spicing things up as far away as Australia and Singapore, too.

With the company delivering their spice mixes directly to restaurants and crab houses, you might not have heard of it. “J.O. has always been on the wholesale side,” Ports said.

You won’t find it on the spice shelves at Giant or Safeway — although Ports said Safeway does steam its shrimp in J.O.’s No. 1 blend.

Local seafood shops carry small bottles of No. 1 and No. 2 and some of their other seasonings and batter mixes.

Busy season

J.O. produces enough spice to season 7 million to 12 million bushels of crabs a year. Some 1,750 to 3,000 tons of raw materials produce 3.5 to 6 million pounds of spice blends every year, according to Ports.

“Summer is the biggest time,” Ports said.

On a recent Thursday, employees arrived at work before 5 a.m. to prepare a shipment to Ocean City restaurants.

In the cavernous warehouses, a forklift scooted through, moving pallets of spices in 50-pound bags. Nearby, gray bins and tarp-like sacks, some weighing more than a ton, awaited their moment in the hoppers where spices are mixed. Bags of ground mustard were piled to the ceiling. A bulk bag of No. 1 seasoning weighs in at 1,800 pounds.

In another room, workers are filling shipping boxes with J.O. products.

The plant is kept meticulously clean. Products are tested for bacteria — and metal: Before a box can ship, it has to pass through the metal detector.

If anything is detected, the box is tossed. Ports said recycled cartons caused a problem one time — the recycled cartons contained bits of recycled staples.

The expanded space has some room for expansion, too. A test kitchen will be added to the site later this year, according to Ports.

“We blend 50 [,000] to 60,000 pounds a day,” said Sean Dunbar, of Arbutus, the plant manager, driving the forklift. “In summertime, it’s all day long. It never stops.”

And demand is so great, spices go out on trucks almost as soon as they’re mixed. “When we make it, it’s gone,” said Dunbar, who has worked at J.O. for 15 years.

Lee McNeil, the assistant plant manager, nodded in agreement. “When I saw the quantity, I didn’t believe it. I looked up and the shelves were empty. It was all gone,” said McNeil.

Later in the day, it was quieter, but still busy. In a small room near the gift shop, laser printers were adding logos and names to mallets and glasses, were etched with logos. Staff members were pasting labels on jars and filling orders. “A lot of it is still hand labeled,” Ports said.

More than seasoning

Spice only begins to describe J.O.’s participation in the traditional crab feast. They print bushel boxes for crab houses, stock brown paper to spread on the tables, order crab mallets by the trailer truck-full. They stock big paper bags and even vinegar, too.

“We literally provide everything but the crabs,” she said.

Cravin’ Crabs, for example, buys its other supplies — paper, bushel boxes, seasonings and custom crab mallets — from J.O., too, Koluch said.

Since the demand for crab seasoning tends to drop in the off season, J.O. started a small gift shop in an unused space a few years ago. It also expanded into more than double its original space when the facilities grew last winter.

Almost as big as the spices are J.O.’s custom crab mallets. Ports came up with the idea to laser print wooden mallets for restaurants, crab feasts, even weddings.

Not everyone in the company was sold — until they sold 650,000 mallets in the first year, according to Ports. Last year, they sold some 800,000 customized mallets.

“It’s really taken off in the last four years,” Ports said.

Customizing mallets, it turns out, is a very competitive part of their business. Ports remained mum on their supplier and the kind of wood they use. “They only make mallets for us,” she said.

The gift shop adds another layer of crab-love to the mix. They carry all of their own products, including the seafood seasoning in 10-pound buckets and kitchen spices, along with all kinds of crab-related stuff: T-shirts, wall hangings and crab encrusted jewelry.

All of the wares come from small businesses and family businesses. And they are made or designed in the United States.

A series of wall plaques designed in the U.S. are actually produced in Indonesia, Ports allowed, but that’s the exception.

The thinking was, she explained, “we could help other small businesses.”

The diversity of their products keeps the staff working year round, Ports said. The staff mixing spices in summer may find themselves working on corporate gift baskets or shipping mallets, but “it keeps them busy,” Ports said.

There’s no need for layoffs in the winter or hiring temporary employees in the summer. They work full-time with time off for two weeks at Christmas and on every holiday.

“Everyone is like a family,” she said.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/arbutus-lansdowne/ph-at-jospice-0813-20140812,0,4226932.story#ixzz3ANmYOEw4

This article ran in the Arbutus Times, August 12, 2014 ~Written very well by Mary K. Tilghman! She did her research and reported on FACTS…and we appreciate it. I copied the entire article – no revisions or editing done – just the way it was written in the paper and online!

Enjoy Reading a Great Article,

:) Pamela

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Great restaurant style ribs ~it’s all about the spice rub!

Astro Pigs BBQ ribs    Astro Pigs chicken   Astro Pigs Rub   Astro Pigs ribs  astro pigs spice

All photos courtesy of Astro Pigs BBQ – BBQ that’s outta this world! Check them out! They have great spice blends too! :)   www.astropigs.com

Do you love restaurant-style ribs – y’know, the lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’ soooo good they fall off the bone kind? You can make ribs at home with this simple secret…it’s all about the spice rub! Rub your ribs with a great spice concoction for the best taste! There’s so many varieties of spice rubs that you can make. Whether you are using chicken thigh or breasts, pork or beef spareribs, you can choose to go sweet, savory, spicy or a combination of all ~ it just depends on the SPICE.

Spice rubs give more intense flavor than a sauce. A BBQ sauce is great added at the end of the cooking process or as a dipping side. All you do is choose your meat, then put some spices together and literally, rub on your meat and let it sit overnight (preferably) or at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Most rubs include salt which helps to break down the tendons and get the meat ready to become the most tender, most juicy, succulent, lip smackin’, finger-lickin’ goodness you’ve come to expect from a great rib dinner!

A great spice rub to try is the J.O. Rib ‘n Chicken or the J.O. Lumberjack. The J.O. Rib ‘n Chicken is more popular because of its versatility in that it works on chicken, pork, beef, ribs, potatoes and more but the J.O. Lumberjack is still a fun rub to use on meat! It has a great smoky flavor.  Another popular favorite, especially with all the employees here at J.O. Spice, is the Beef & Poultry Rub! That has a great combination of salt to sweet that works on just about any meat. It was first developed as an addition to the Venison product line but once you try it on pork chops, chicken wings and ribs, you won’t be going back to anything else.

Do you like a little sweet with your meat? Adding granulated sugar to your spice rub gives you that caramelized finger-lickin’, lip-smackin’ taste that you get at all the BBQ establishments. If you are more the spicy aficionado, try coating your wings, ribs or beef in a dose of hot sauce then spice rub your meat and let marinate for a few hours or overnight. The hot sauce gives your spices something to adhere to but just coat it enough to let it soak into the meat (maybe pat down with a towel) making sure it’s not dripping or soaking the meat.  Let the spices do their work to the meat by being able to be on the meat not drip off!

Experiment on your own. J.O. has great seasoning blends that make spice rubs so easy but J.O. also has a wide range of spices that you can buy and combine to get your own taste. J.O. Rosemary is a great spice to combine with J.O. Sea Salt and J.O. Cracked Black Pepper. Sometimes simple is the best way to go! J.O. Garlic Pepper, J.O. Sage and J.O. Cayenne Pepper works together beautifully and then there is the “Peruvian-style” where you combine J.O. Cumin, J.O. Oregano, J.O. Paprika, J.O. Black Pepper, J.O. Sea Salt and 2 tsp of sugar…heaven!

Never underestimate the power of Garlic Crab or Black Crab…that will have the amount of salt you need for the rub and give you a flavor that is the absolute best on chicken wings! Keep in mind that there is a lot of salt in those products because they are designed to be used in steaming crabs but if you love the taste, & have some leftover from your summer crab feasts, don’t be afraid to experiment on your football chicken wing tailgates (I mean you’re drinking beer…like you do when you eat crabs…just saying!)

Who ever thought rubbing meat would become so popular? Grillmasters like those at Astro Pigs already know the secret – it’s time you got in the know as well! It’s all about the spice rub for lip smackin’ finger lickin’ restaurant style ribs!

Have fun rubbing meat,

:) Pamela

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