HALETHORPE, Md. - Asking those on the street how they do it, most will tell you with Old Bay. However, if you make your way to your favorite crab stop from Ocean City to Hagerstown and points in between, you may find that seasoning by a different name. Odds are, it’s made at the J.O. Spice Company in Halethorpe.
So to get schooled on all things “spice,” Vice President of Marketing and Retail Sales Ginger Ports showed us the way.
“My slogan is, ‘Do you ever wonder why your crabs don’t taste the same when you’re at home,’” she said. “Each of the restaurants have their own recipe. We do the blends, but it’s their name, packaged by J.O. Spice.”
It’s not just specialty seasons for Ports and her husband, company president Don Ports. You can also get your hands on J.O. Spice #1, a recipe dating back to the company’s founding in 1945.
“It's the all-purpose seasoning,” she said. “It can go on anything from popcorn to chicken to seafood.”
But if crab spice is what you find so nice, you’ll want to go with the other original, J.O. #2.
“It uses the finest seasonings and has a salt that adheres to the crab,” she said.
Not satisfied with just the spice and seasoning market, the Ports have expanded the J.O. line to clothing, signs and specialty mallets printed in a different wing of the facility.
“I’ve gotten into the wedding business, too,” Port added.
Through the years, Port says J.O. Spice has grown into a full 12-month operation based on two key principles.
“Customer service is what sets us apart,” she said.
And, above all, she and the staff make it a point to treat all of their employees like family.
“I truly appreciate everything they do because it takes everyone working as one,” she said.
It’s not a bad business model for this small, locally owned company with big plans for many more crab seasons to come.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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