To the untrained eye, it may look like any other large building in a suburban industrial park.
But to the trained nose, this building is anything but.
The moment you exit your vehicle, even before you turn the door handle to pass through the secured vestibule and enter the lobby of Asmus Seasonings, the aroma of savory herbs and sweet spices is in the air.
And as you make your way to the front door, you begin to wonder exactly what kind of Willy Wonka magic is going on in this building, even before you’ve been given the permission to enter.
This place isn’t anything like the spice end cap at your local grocery store. Or, like a unique, gourmet boutique in an upscale food emporium.
Not even like a stroll through an ancient spice market in a small Mediterranean village like you see on so many TV travelogues.
This place is big, and the combinations of aromas so overwhelm to your senses, that it’s impossible to dissect exactly which one you can precisely identify.
Wait… it’s pepper, sage, rosemary.
Now… I think it’s actually cumin….and I’m picking up some coriander and anise too.
Your olfactory senses are on overload.
Once inside, as you walk past the reception area, the corporate offices and the dozens upon dozens of spice labels and shipping boxes, the waft of spices in the air just makes you want to cook or bake something.
And for thousands of Chefs, Bakers and Pastry Chefs all across the country, that’s exactly the destiny of these colorful powders, granules, crushed and whole pieces of herbs and spices which Asmus Seasonings procures from all over the planet.
Shipping labels from as far away as Spain, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Maluku Island in Indonesia.are affixed to the hundreds of boxes, drums and vessels which stand proudly on pallets and are carefully arranged and organized on shelves throughout the warehouse.
The efficiency of “spice house” as they sometimes call it, is organized by the progression of the products from receiving at one end of the building, to storing, measuring or blending, then packaging and distribution at the other.
To ensure that the spices and herbs retain all of their volatile oils and freshness, the purchasing of these essential elements is done with “just in time” delivery as a priority. This keeps the inventory rotated constantly which means each product and blend arrives to their customers at their optimal freshness and flavor.
While it may not exactly be Willy Wonka”ish”, while walking through the facility, it’s fascinating to watch the Matrix Machine dispensing measured amounts of blended spices into pouches, then sealing and dropping them on a conveyor belt to be packaged by an awaiting employee.
Watch the Matrix Machine in action HERE.
Just around the corner, large bags and bins of pre-measured herbs and spices are being loaded into an enormous mixer to be blended into a custom barbecue rub for a customer in Michigan.
Meanwhile, while in another room across the way, owner, and formally trained Chef Dan Lowry, is measuring small amounts of herbs, spices, resins and assorted “seasonings” to create the next new proprietary blend for a new customer in the spice lab.
Stocked with a seemingly endless variety of choices, Dan, donned in his white lab coat, masks and protective gear, carefully selects each component of the next sample to be created and carefully measures and records each, as he adds them to the formula.
Gram by gram.
“I get so much satisfaction creating custom blends for our customers” Dan admitted.
“Sometimes, I’m asked to create a new blend, based on a sample of something they bring to me.
In those cases, I’ll often put the sample under the microscope.
Believe it or not, no matter how finely you grind a spice, you can actually identify what it is, by color and shape. And a pretty good idea of its percentage, in relationship to the sample size on the slide.
Of course, tasting the sample is usually a dead giveaway.
Nailing the flavor profile of a sample is a thrill, and improving upon it, is even more rewarding.” Dan concluded.
Nearly everyone who tours the spice house leaves with a sample as Dan often invites his guests to choose something they’d like to try from his inventory of spices lining the walls of the packaging room.
Like a box of colorful crayons, the multiple shades of green, orange, yellow, red, gold, and even the beautiful shade of lavender seeds, line the shelves of herbs and spices just begging for the opportunity to be the lucky star in some Chef’s next creation.
There is indeed some kind of magic going on at Asmus Seasonings.
And luckily for the customers of all those Chef’s and businesses using any of Asmus seasonings products or creations, that magic is never boring, and is always delicious.