J.O. Spice Co. in Halethorpe, Md.

You may give the credit to another well-known name, but J.O. Spice Co. has been spicing up your seafood and more for 76 years. We meet the family behind the Maryland business.

More Than a Spice Company…

A porcelain basin at the home of James Ozzle Strigle and his wife Dot was where famed J.O. Spice crab seasoning was first created in the 1940s. 

A native of Tangier Island, VA, James worked in the meat industry. A few of the original blends he created were cures for meats — the legal name of the company is J.O. Spice and Cure Company.

They started J.O. Spice in 1945 when the couple opened their first storefront in Baltimore, selling directly to watermen.

The original formulation was J.O. #1 All Purpose Seafood Seasoning — which can be used on anything. Later on, J.O. #2 was formulated as a crab seasoning for steaming crabs only. This “crab only” formulation is better for steaming crabs as the seasoning would adhere to the shell during the steaming process.

Since then, the company has grown to offer much more than just seasonings. Supplying crabs houses with crab paper, mallets, baskets, batters, soup mixes and more, J.O. Spice has now branched out to custom gifts such as cutting boards and tumblers.

J.O. Spice remains family run, in the late eighties daughter Jane McPhaul, took over the operations. After serving in the USMC, McPhaul’s son Donald Ports joined her in the nineties and took over operations in 2000.

The family sticks close to its roots — and honors its history. As J.O. once said, “We offer quality seasonings and spices at reasonable prices. Quality doesn’t cost, it pays.”