We Are More Than a Spice Company…

Gifts are personal, custom & spicy!

Mr & Mrs Skeen Champgne Flutes 2Bamboo Picture FramesMD Flag Large Wine GlassCrab Salt and pepper shaker


We have gifts that are personal, custom & spicy! Unsure of what to get someone who has been so kind, thoughtful and fun? Engrave a special cutting board and say “Thanks!” in your own special way. Can’t find the perfect gift and have been walking the mall for hours? Make it! We custom engrave on glasses, cutting boards and picture frames. Need a wedding gift because you waited until the last minute and the gift registry has absolutely nothing that you’d like to spend money on and you need it by tomorrow? We can handle that. If you have a few minutes to wait, we have the ability to wrap it, too!

Gifts that are personal, custom & spicy are remembered. They are conversation pieces as well as decor for your home that makes you smile every time you see or use it. Our engraved cutting boards are both fun and functional. So are the glasses! How fun is it to drink out of your very own customized, personalized pint or beer glass during all the sports seasons? At least you will know which cup is yours!

Personal, custom & spicy is what J.O. is known for because we have great customer service (read our Facebook page!) and our gifts make everyone smile (check out the photos on the Facebook page from customer’s posts!).

What can we engrave for you?

When you’re thinking gifts, think of J.O. Spice!

🙂 Pamela

More than SPICE!

collageanchor framecrab spoonflip flop boards

J.O. is definitely More than SPICE! Have you checked out the new products page on the website?  It’s filled with all kinds of custom gifts, personalized wedding favor ideas and new apparel like purses, scarves, Maryland flip flops and hats! J.O. is doing more than just spicing up your breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can engrave and customize a great gift!  There are gift ideas for every holiday, every occasion and if you don’t see it, we can make it -sometimes right there on the spot! We do all of the engraving in house!

In addition to all kinds of gifts, there’s many ways to be spicy at the beach – flip flops, hats, scarves, beach bags, insulated cups and of course, koozies and key chains!  J.O. is making sure to be More than SPICE, but keeping with the crabby, beachy and all things relaxing theme so that when you think crabs, you think J.O.!  So, just remember, when you are dreaming of the beach, dreaming of crabs, dreaming of relaxing in the sun, all you need to do is think J.O. and be happy!

It’s nice to be More than SPICE ~ especially when you need a gift for that special someone, for that impossible-to-buy for someone, for that “I didn’t forget your birthday/our anniversary/your milestone event!” occasion, we have just what you need. When you stop in, let us know what we can engrave, make unique or add that special spicy touch to so that your gift is perfectly unique!

Gifts with fun attached are all available at J.O. ~ come shopping at the retail store today!

🙂 Pamela


Got crabs?

crab994103_10155125991070360_153556486022130958_nCrab Stretchy Bangle 210624996_10154609903015360_5393094051867107525_n

Got crabs? We definitely do. They might not be as ready to be spiced up as it’s only February…but they are definitely available as decorations, as apparel, as napkin holders, as coasters, and so much more. Do you know a crab collector? I am not a crab collector myself but I have quite the collection of crabby decor because I love the blue dishes with the crabs, the crab salt and pepper set, the blue crab bottle topper and of course, the blue crab tray because you never know when you might need that!

Instead of asking Got crabs? what about asking got anchors? got flip flops? got American flag koozies for that special 4th of July celebration? Because if you don’t, we do!

Have you been visiting Maryland for awhile and want a token that will bring back happy memories of your stay here in Maryland or the beach? Because we have many Maryland themed items like hats, shirts, tumblers, stickers and flags. Plus, J.O. supports many small, family-owned businesses and sells their Maryland-made items like chocolates, cookies, and nuts. Then there are quite a few small, family business items that are MADE IN USA like cookie cutters, ties, belts, flip flops, bags and more!

Got crabs? is something to be said after shopping at J.O. Spice because no matter your decor, you are sure to find a special something you just have to have! Don’t believe that you will find something you just have to have? Then stop in and we’ll prove it to you!

Got gifts?,

🙂 Pamela

Dip Dip Dip

Dip seasoning

One of my favorite nephews loves to Dip Dip Dip his food. And that is precisely the way he says it as he’s eating, “Dip.” “Dip.” “Dip.” It’s truly the cutest thing. J.O. is branching out into dip blends in 2015. Our first dip to debut was at Christmas when we introduced the Dill Seasoning & Dip Blend. It’s a delightful combination of lemony spice with just the right kick to it the longer it sits. Combined with mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt and sour cream or a combination however you choose, it’s a wonderful accompaniment to crudites, potato chips, pretzels, chicken nuggets and more.

A regular customer bought one at the Facebook Christmas party and put the Dip Dip Dip blend into her hamburger meat and called the next day to say that it was the best meatloaf she’d ever made! See what a little spice can do? I’m sure it would do wonders to hamburgers or turkey burgers as well! What about spicing up chicken or pork – don’t leave out the “other” meats in your life!

The Dill Seasoning Blend is actually somewhat of a misnomer as I despise dill as much as tarragon and lima beans – all should be wiped from the planet. The Dill is not the front runner of this dip in my opinion. Actually, I know someone who was disappointed that the dill wasn’t the most prevalent taste but I’m actually quite happy that it’s just enough! The other spices deliver such a fantastic complement to yogurt & sour cream that it’s got the right heat, the right “YUM!” that makes any young kid Dip Dip Dip their veggies in earnest! Trust me! I’ve seen it. My young nephew didn’t know what a radish was and he ate it heartily…I don’t think it was because I told him it was a pretty red ball..it was all the dip he ate with it!

Wait until you see all the other fun products we come up with in 2015! The Dill Seasoning & Dip Blend is just the beginning!

Enjoy Dip Dip Dipping your veggies,

🙂 Pamela

Best gifts happen right here!

life is better at beach  square ornament  crab blue glass  Stemless Crab Wine glasses

There’s a lot More Than Spice happening at J.O. !  The best gifts happen right here because we do all the engraving in house! We do not send out jobs. We can actually do it right here, sometimes right now. In a nutshell, you walk into the retail store, get an idea for a gift, if the machines are free you get it within 5-10 minutes* and since you are browsing anyway, it’s a win-win.

All engraving is done right here at the J.O. plant! We don’t have to send out the mallet, cutting board, picture frames, or glass jobs because they are all engraved here -we have two graphic designers ready to work on your unique ideas or brainstorm until a great idea hatches. All of us contribute to a great idea because small family business is what we know, what we do and who we are ~ and that makes the unique, the extra-ordinary and the best gifts happen!

Whether you need pint glasses, jars or stemless wine glasses engraved, oyster or paring knives, medium – to -large cutting boards, ornaments (New for the holidays!) or a mallet, we do it all and we create new and exciting products everyday.

If you have a great idea, we make it happen.

If you have no idea but just a few thoughts, we make it happen.

If all you have is cash and come in with absolutely no thoughts whatsoever… **smile** …we can still make the best gifts right here!

*Depending on the complexity of the request, might take up to 24 hours to make it happen but the best gifts still happen right here at J.O.!

What do you need engraved?

Let us take the stress out of gift giving,

🙂 Pamela



Cinnamon in the air…smells like fall!



The smell of cinnamon evokes the scent of fall…apple pie or cobbler baking in the oven, hot toddies, hot cider simmering on the stove with lots of cinnamon sticks and cinnamon inside your slow-cooker chili! Don’t forget there’s also snickerdoodles baking, gingerbread and cinnamon spiced cake straight from the oven! Got whipped cream?

Here at J.O. we have the wonderful Apple Pie Spice and Pumpkin Pie Spice. These spice blends have the right combination of cinnamon and other spices that you can use for so many recipes, not just pie! Cookies, pound cake, ice cream, cider and coffee drinks, add some to whipped cream, sprinkle some on top of your chili, your butternut squash soup, your hearty lamb stew or any stew that has the flavors of curry or cumin, coriander, chili or fall!

Even if you just have a pork or chicken to roast in the slow cooker, adding onion, peppers, 1 can of diced tomatoes, J.O. Garlic Pepper, J.O. Cumin/J.O. Cinnamon and/or Cinnamon Sticks to the mix, and cook on low for about 6 hours ~ the smell of cinnamon in the air makes coming home on that first fall day feel like a cozy hug! It’s the first day when you are attacked by the cold after just wearing shorts and you’re like, “Whoa. Where did fall come from?” You just need a hug of cinnamony warm goodness after that!

Then when you are ready, make some snickerdoodles -have you ever tried it with the J.O. Apple Pie Spice or the J.O. Pumpkin Pie Spice? That adds a nice and different zing to the cookies and makes the hot apple cider, and/or hot toddies a welcome treat!  Don’t forget to sprinkle the whipped cream with some added spice!

How do you enjoy a cold, fall day? What does the smell of cinnamon in the air evoke in your memories?

Happy Spicy Memories,

🙂 Pamela

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 oldest 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

“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

#13 & # 22 ~ More & 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!


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

Another great article straight 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.?


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