Category Archives: Shopping

Green Dragon: A Famous Friday Market

Driving down Rt. 272, you can’t miss the huge retro dragon perched above a sign that directs you to the Green Dragon Farmers Market and Auction. For more than 80 years it’s been a Lancaster County tradition for locals and visitors alike to spend their Fridays looking at 400 merchants, growers, and craftsmen on the 30 acre property.

Green Dragon has seven large market buildings, unique cottages, and outdoor vender tents. It offers both indoor and outdoor shopping experiences and a wide variety of products. From country cooking and produce to crystals and clothing, Green Dragon offers something for everyone. If you need a neat place to take your kids or if you’re hanging out with your friends and want to grab a bite to eat, check out Green Dragon.

What I like about Green Dragon is the diversity of products; it truly captures the essence of Lancaster. While inside, I enjoy walking around, watching people, and devouring a delicious sausage sandwich. Outside, my favorite cottages include: Hallelujah Hive (best honey you will ever try), India Moon Boutique (bohemian clothes and gemstone jewelry), All about Jerky (exotic jerkies from all different animals), and Cocalico Creek Country store (rustic chic).

Enjoy the spring and summer weather, plus get your exercise by walking through this unique place – all while soaking in the Lancaster County culture. You’ll discover something new each time you go!

Green Dragon is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM every Friday.

The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.

Made by hand (and passion)

Eldreth Pottery was started over 30 years ago in a dank cellar by Dave Eldreth, who at the time, was a full-time teacher trying to supplement income to support newly born twin daughters.

Without much money, he was motivated to make things work. His first potter’s wheel was an improvised conversion of a washing machine. His first pottery kiln was borrowed. He dug his own clay from a local Southern Lancaster County quarry. With many years and many fortunate twists along the way, Eldreth’s determination, ambition, and creativity drove his company’s growth.

When it was time to expand into a larger space, he went to see the local banker, who as luck would have it, just started collecting Eldreth’s pottery. The banker believed in the vision, and put money behind the ideas.

Eldreth recounted a few other serendipitous stories including the time he hired a mason to build a salt-kiln. The mason abruptly quit because he didn’t want to do that kind of work. Devastated, Eldreth thought his plans to set up a pottery factory were doomed from the start. Fortunately, his neighbor turned out to be a distinguished engineer who built the kiln, and then wouldn’t accept payment for his work other than “the first four pots that come out of the kiln.”

Now with about 35 talented artists and three locations, Eldreth Pottery is a renowned name in the pottery business showcasing creativity in salt glaze, redware, and stoneware. They’re known for many different items and varying styles sure to fit everybody’s tastes. Their most popular pottery are painted birdhouses, and their annual limited edition carved Santas.

Every piece is made by hand in Lancaster County. All of the pottery is one-of-a-kind as every single item gets hand-painted.

The showroom and factory in Oxford at 902 Hart Road is stocked to the brims with high quality ceramics. You can also get a tour of that factory generally anytime between 10:00-3:00 PM from Monday to Friday. Watch the pots being made or glazed by the studio artists. Explore the studio space, which includes old clay molds, kiln room, potter’s wheels, etc.

If you’re visiting the Oxford location in early May, don’t miss their annual Open House, which includes demonstrations, kids’ pottery wheel activities, pig roast, and more.

Eldreth Pottery also has a showroom in Strasburg at 246 N Decatur Street. If you’re looking for a good time of year to visit there, go on the second weekend of November to catch their annual Holiday Open House to see all of the new limited edition Santa creations.

Either way, seek them out. Reconnect with craft that’s locally made by hand. Eldreth’s passion is contagious, and I think you’ll find his pots as inspiring as his story.

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A seasoning for everything

Growing up in my household, seasoning a meal involved salt, pepper, or ketchup. (Sorry mom and dad, I know you really didn’t have time to cook.) Now that I have a household of my own and am learning to cook for myself, I am exploring new flavors and seasonings in my dishes. Enter Olio Olive Oils & Balsamics, a shop I discovered in downtown Lititz.

The entrance of this store was totally deceiving. It looks small from the outside, but it’s spacious in the inside – it has to be in order to hold the 75 different flavors of olive oils and balsamics that they sell there. Yes, you read that correctly, 75! Now I realize at this point that some of you may be thinking that seems a little overwhelming and you wouldn’t know where to begin, but the owners of the store are extremely helpful and will answer any questions you have. They even have a pairing sheet to tell you which olive oils and balsamics pair well together if you are feeling a bit intimidated.

I wanted to find something unique and surprising, so I started tasting my way around the store. Some of my favorites were the Fig, Lavender, and Honey Ginger balsamics. I also really enjoyed the Basil/Lemongrass, Persian Lime, and Herbs de Provence Olive Oils. Curious to try some of the olive oil and balsamic pairings, I decided to make another sweep of the shop. My favorite combination was the Tuscan Herb EVOO with the Fig balsamic, so delicious! There are so many unique and wonderful flavors you can combine to make your perfect pairing. The most surprising one to me was Chipotle infused EVOO with Chocolate balsamic. A steak marinated in this delicious combination would make for a unique and different meal at a dinner party.

Olio sells their olive oils and balsamic in 3 different sizes and they do not add any sugars to their products. They also carry several unflavored oils and balsamics, specialty oils, salts, sugars, pasta sauces, flavored honey, and skin care products. Not only can you shop their retail store for products, but you can purchase online as well. They will ship anywhere in the U.S. and will also make and ship gift baskets.

I got some great suggestions for recipes while I was visiting the shop. Pete, the owner suggested trying the Chocolate balsamic on ice cream for a sugar-free topping option. What a great idea! He also recommended the Honey Ginger balsamic on fish, especially salmon. I decided to purchase that one as well as the Mandarin Orange white balsamic.

The next night, I made honey-ginger salmon for dinner. It was so easy – all I did was marinate the salmon in the balsamic for about 15 minutes, then cooked it in a pan on the stove. Add your sides, and you have a really simple and delicious meal! I saved the Mandarin Orange balsamic for cocktails during girls’ night. Who knew you could infuse your cocktails with balsamics?

Olio is a great place to shop for anyone from a home cook to a pro chef. With so many options and flavors, the recipe possibilities are endless.

You can visit Olio Olive Oils & Balsamics’ website (oliooliveoil.com) for their complete list of products as well as recipes, or follow them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OlioOliveOil) for weekly recipe ideas and events.

Ingredients for Mandarin Orange Ginger cocktails:
– 1 oz. vodka
– 5 oz. club soda
– 1 tsp. Olio Mandarin Orange balsamic (start with this amount, you can always add more to taste)
– Splash of ginger beer
– Orange slices for garnish

Step 1: Add the balsamic and vodka and stir to combine. Pour into a glass and add ice.
Step 2: Add the club soda to the infused vodka and stir.
Step 3: Top with a splash of ginger beer.
Step 4: Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy!

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Long Johns, candles, animals, and more

You don’t often hear about Leola, PA, but nestled in the heart of PA Dutch Country is a quaint town worth visiting. My sister, our two kiddos, and I decided to spend the day in this town, discovering it’s treasures.

We started our day at Achenbach’s Pastry. They are known throughout the County for their baked goods, but particularly for their Long Johns (a long, almost rectangular, filled doughnut, often iced). But beyond their Long Johns, all of their pastries are amazing and, best of all, they contain no preservatives and are served straight from the oven to the customer… can’t beat that! From cinnamon buns and breads to pies and cakes, this place has it all.

The kids gravitated to the chocolate covered doughnuts, I chose a peanut butter Long John and a chocolate Long John (don’t judge me), and my sister picked out a cheese danish. With pastries in one hand and drinks in the other, we headed outside to sit at a picnic table. If the weather is poor, there are a couple indoor tables at which you can sit. Otherwise, head back to your hotel room or to your favorite indoor spot to devour your goodies. If you’re looking for made-to-order cakes (birthday, anniversary, graduation, wedding or otherwise), this is bakery you must check out.

After our sweet and satisfying breakfast, we headed to Hayloft Candles & Petting Zoo just down the road. As soon as we pulled in, the kids spotted the petting zoo. It was larger than I expected. It was clean, well kept, and the admission is free. We gave quarters to the kids so that they could buy food to feed to the animals. They were so excited to meet, feed, and pet the animals. In the middle of the zoo is an beautiful pond surrounded by a walking path. We walked around the lake, fed the ducks, then met the another animals. The zoo has goats, birds, ducks, bunnies, chickens, donkeys, a Scottish Highlander (a breed of cow), llama, peacock, kangaroo, and more. We enjoyed feeding the Scottish Highlander most. His tongue was so large and unusual – the kids giggled with delight as the mammoth animal licked the food from their hands.

After 45 minutes of free outdoor entertainment, we headed inside the store. It’s large! It has two floors filled to the rafters with home décor. From homemade candles of every size and scent to decorative wreaths, knick knacks, and postcards, they have everything. A shopping dream come true! They also have homemade ice cream and refreshments for purchase.

I would say that Hayloft Candles & Petting Zoo is a destination that everyone should put on their itinerary. The location is great, and the scenery beautiful, plus there’s so much to do… and buy.

Our stomach’s began to rumble, so we packed in the car and headed to The Back Page Restaurant, only a stone’s throw away. What a surprise! We didn’t know what to expect going there, but what we found was a casual sports bar with a great beer selection, a spacious family-friendly seating area, an adjoining game room complete with billiards, air hockey, video games, and a patio with a fully equipped Tiki bar. The atmosphere felt comfortable and welcoming. We chose to pile into booth near the game room. Deciding to give their appetizers a try, we ordered Garlic Herb and Mozzarella Crustini, Quesadillas, and Beer-Battered Onion Rings. Everything was absolutely delicious and reasonably priced. Between myself, my sister, and the kids, we devoured every last bite.

We had a blast together and enjoyed the treasures we found in Leola. Be sure to put this town on your “must do” list for the next time you visit Lancaster County!

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An afternoon stroll through Intercourse

One of my favorite places to visit in Lancaster County is the Village of Intercourse. Yeah, it has a funny name, but it also has some of the best little shops to visit, especially if you love taste testing great food and seeing beautiful handcrafts.

Kitchen Kettle Village is a huge draw to this location and, with over 40 shops, there is a lot to see. My favorite shop is the Jam and Relish Kitchen where they can, bottle, and jar jams, jellies, relishes, salsas, and more for you to take home. If you like to taste-test samples, this will be one of your favorite places since nearly every item for sale is open for you to try. Online ordering is also available.

A short walk from Kitchen Kettle Village is the Old Candle Barn. Don’t let the name fool you, they have much more than candles. There are tons of home decorations, lamps, and linens waiting for you to look through. The shop is changed seasonally, so no matter when you visit, you will find something wonderful to take home with you. The candle selection is marvelous and includes soy candles which are fragrance and dye free.

If you are a quilter you must visit Zooks Fabric Store. I’ve been getting my quilting fabric from them for over 25 years. They have a fine selection of popular commercial brands plus Kona cottons and the hard-to-find Amish solids you need to finish that Sunshine and Shadow quilt you’ve been making.

Cross the street and you can visit the Intercourse Pretzel Factory. A free tour is offered when the factory is in operation; otherwise, you can sample and buy a wide variety of freshly made pretzels. Both hard and soft pretzels are made in the factory and all are delicious.

If taste-testing is your favorite hobby, then you definitely want to visit the Intercourse Canning Company. A huge selection of canned goods waits for you in a rainbow of colors and flavors. Previously housed in an older building, the Canning Company has moved to Center Street, but is still within walking distance of the heart of Intercourse.Cooking demos are offered at certain times and a video history of canning is also available.

Near the Intercourse Canning Company is Stoltzfus Meats and Deli. This is a great place to pick up a snack of some lebanon bologna and farmer’s cheese and a nice cold drink. Be sure to pack a cooler in your car to take home a pound or two of their great meats and cheese for later. They also feature Amos’ Place Restaurant if you need more than a snack.

I know you are curious… so here’s the scoop on the village name. The Village of Intercourse was founded in 1754 and the word intercourse at that time was used to reference fellowship or a social gathering. Since the village is also the place where two main roads cross it makes a lot of sense that it was named Intercourse. But if you’d like to think that this piece of history is all wrong and it means something else, well, there will be a lot of t-shirts to support your theory in the gift shops, so have fun!

A Behind-the-Scenes Tour of QVC

Do you like to “shop till you drop?” Of course! That’s one of the reasons why you love visiting Lancaster, right? You can always go home with some incredible deals from the outlets, markets, and gift shops. But we know that for the true shopaholics among us, the shopping doesn’t stop when you go home. You may enjoy searching for bargains online, in catalogs, and more. But I’m going to guess that one of your best go-to spots is QVC.

Just the sound of those three letters rolling off the tongue puts me in a happy, shopping mood. Well, let’s be honest. It puts us all in a shopping mood. Thankfully, Lancaster is home to a QVC outlet store, a distribution center, and we are next door to their Studio Park in West Chester, PA. Just recently, I got the chance to visit their expansive studio and take a behind-the-scenes tour with one of QVC’s wonderful guides. We had a blast!

Some Quick Facts

In order to really appreciate the size, reach, and quality of QVC’s production, it’s helpful to know a few statistics. QVC stands for “quality, value, convenience” and is the world’s leading video and e-commerce retailer. They broadcast live 24 hours a day, 364 days of the year. That’s right. So while you may be fast asleep, the team at QVC’s Studio Park is hard at work. QVC is available in 300 million homes worldwide through its broadcast programming in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, Italy and a joint venture in China. In 2013, they shipped more than 169 million products to these markets. Wow! I knew QVC was big, but I had no idea it was quite that big until I visited Studio Park.

You can read more about these impressive statistics on QVC’s fact sheet. But for now, I think you’ve got a pretty good idea of how vast their work is. So let’s talk about their fascinating tour!

The QVC Experience

Upon entering QVC, I was introduced to my tour guide, Joan, and we set off on our way. One of our first stops was in front of about ten TV monitors, showing a live feed of QVC’s programming worldwide and online. It was wild to think that QVC teams were filming in multiple countries and reaching people all over the world at the exact same time. After this, we enjoyed a short video that provided an overview of some of the things we were about to see throughout the studio. This was very helpful because it enabled me to recognize what certain pieces of equipment did and how they contributed to the overall production.

Our guide then led the group down a glass-lined hallway where we could see one of the network’s live beauty segments being filmed. It was so neat! I saw robotic cameras moving around, monitors showing the program hosts what shots to prepare for, large sets of lights, and more! We also saw the program guests and models on set. After that, we took a stroll down QVC’s “hall of fame.” This is where guests can learn about some of the network’s accomplishments and sales records that have been set over the years. Do you own a Halo portable cell phone charger? Well, this piece of technology has earned a coveted spot in the QVC hall of fame.

Up next was the prop room. Don’t you love how QVC films each of their segments in the perfect atmosphere? One of the ways they are able to do this is by using a variety of props to transform their studio into different spaces with distinct aesthetic appeal. But as you know, it takes a lot of props to ensure that every set has the right look for a 24/7 production. Studio Park is home to thousands of different props including pillows, chairs, beds, blankets, dishes, picture frames, and pretty much anything under the sun that might come in handy for a segment. I can imagine it would be pretty easy to get lost in this prop room for a day or two… maybe three.

Before visiting Studio Park, I would have guessed that most of QVC’s tour guests were women. However, our guide explained that she sees a good mix of both men and women on their tours – the main difference is that most of the women love seeing the merchandise and catching a glimpse of their favorite hosts, while a majority of the men get caught up in the studio’s cutting edge production equipment and technology. If that’s the case, then the next part of my tour must be a very popular stop for the men visiting Studio Park. We walked by several production rooms where every QVC program is monitored. The technology here was unbelievable!

One of the last stops on QVC’s regular tour is the observation deck. This is the perfect opportunity to see one of your favorite program hosts filming a live segment. It also gives you the chance to see just how large the 58,000 square foot studio space is.

The All-Access Tour

For visitors who would like a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes at QVC, you can take part in their all-access tour. This tour puts you right in the action, and it is so much fun! I got to go on-set, visit the Talent Service Center, see a Green Room, and more. All-access visitors even get to enjoy lunch in the Studio Park Café with their tour guide. I love this aspect of the all-access experience because it gives visitors a chance to get to know their guide and ask additional questions about the QVC broadcasts.

Planning Your Visit to QVC

Tours are available seven days a week at 10:30 AM, Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM, and 4:00 PM EST. Admission is only $7.50 per adult and $5 for children ages 6 to 12 years. Reservations for this tour are not required for parties of nine or less. All-access tours are offered once a week on Fridays and require reservations. Admission for the all-access experience is $75 per person. More information about QVC’s tour packages can be found on their studio tour page. And don’t forget to stop in for a little shopping at the Studio Park store before you head home!

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Emily is a Lancaster County native, singer/songwriter, and all around music lover. She is an Online PR Specialist and, on the side, works at her family’s business, Long’s Horseradish, at Lancaster Central Market. To learn more about Emily, visit her website: www.EmilyLongMusic.com.

Take home Lancaster’s farm fresh produce

There’s nothing like the crisp, juicy, delicious crunch of a fresh apple, right from the farm.  It’s not the same as an ordinary grocery store apple – there’s still a touch of warm cinnamon sun and sweet fresh air in that bite that makes that ripe apple extra special. This is what draws locals and visitors alike to Kauffman’s Fruit Farm and Market. This quaint farmer’s market is the perfect place to find a fantastic selection of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a variety of locally produced dry goods such as flour, oats, baking goods, and more. Not to mention fresh meats, cheeses, and pies. Kauffman’s is also known, locally and nationally, for their fresh apple cider.

Just inside the door, a display of live honeybees captivates visitors, young and old alike. My eyes wander to the colorful straws filled with fresh, amber honey, and I remember visiting the Topsfield fair (In Topsfield, MA) as a child. My parents would always spoil us with a fresh honey-straw treat. With this fond memory, I smile and turn my attention to the apples and other fresh fruits which are displayed in delightful wicker baskets. Courtlands, Honeycrisps, and Galas; types of apples that make you want to run home and instantly bake some warm apple desserts.  Continuing through the aisles, the aroma of flour and spices remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen.

At the far end of the market is a deli with a selection of sausage, chicken, steaks, and other fresh items. Right next to the deli counter is a mysterious wooden vault-like door, which immediately piqued my interest. I inquired about the thick wooden door, and learned that it is a deep freezer which will chill fresh foods in record time, therefore preserving flavors and freshness that might otherwise be lost. To me, it looked like the secret door to Narnia (a favorite book from childhood) and, if the door is opened under just the right circumstances – my imagination believes there will be snow and fresh pine limbs there to greet the unsuspecting employee.  Another reminiscent smile.

I decided to make one more round of the market to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and this time I noticed the delivery bay at the back of the store where all the fresh fruits arrive.  A collage of bright stickers decorated the wall behind a counter – remnants of sales of apples from seasons past while a cheerful young Amish girl straightened baskets for new deliveries to come.

Before I left, I took a few minutes to sit on the wooden bench in front of the store and just watch the world go by. Several Amish buggies clip-clopped down the road, customers came and went, and on the horizon a few cows grazed happily on the fresh June grass.  The warm sun and blue sky reassured me that summer had arrived to stay. Times and places like these allow you to truly appreciate all the things and all the moments that make life great.

The city is alive with art and creativity

I love the energy that is in the air right now. The buds on the trees have burst open, and the downtown art gallery scene is staged to burst open too. After one of the hardest winters on record, it’s time to put my feet to the pavement and see what’s new at some of the premier stops in the bustling art scene.

Tucked in the thick of Gallery Row, Freiman Stoltzfus Gallery, one of several individual artist-centered galleries on the block, is one of my personal favorite. Freiman, a native of the Lancaster County’s Amish-Mennonite community, has a great love of travel and has made many trips to Europe. While living in Italy and France, he studied language, music and art. “Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music.” This quote by Goethe is a guiding principle for his newest collection of paintings, entitled “Lyrical Stones,” which opens on May 2 and continues through June. I’m excited to see this collection firsthand when it opens.

From j.a. sharp, I can walk across the street to Art & Glassworks. It’s one of the best sensory art experiences in the entire city. Glass art in every form and every color from floor to ceiling greets you as you enter Art & Glassworks. They represent over 150 American and International artists including many from the city and county. Whether you’re looking for stained glass, fused glass, blown glass orbs, paperweights, and even modern ceramics, you simply can not go wrong at this stop for either gift buying or splurging on something special for your yourself. I highly recommend a visit to this unique shop.

Take my advice; don’t stop there. There’s so much more art to see in town. Enjoy!

A haven for foodies

If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, no visit to Lancaster County would be complete without a trip to Lancaster Central Market.

Lancaster Central Market is the country’s oldest farmers market, located in a beautiful 120 year-old building in the heart of downtown Lancaster.  Featuring gourmet and ethnic foods, local specialties, and unique gifts and souvenirs, Lancaster Central Market was recently listed as “one of the 10 best fresh markets in the world” by CNN Go, the global and travel website of the international cable news network.

During a recent visit I decided to stray outside of my comfort zone to try some things I may not typically sample.

My first stop was at Pureblend Tea where I enjoyed my first tea latte.  It was a nice change from my usual café lattes. They can be ordered in a number of different flavors… mine was salted caramel.  Devine.

I was craving comfort food so my next stop was Spring Glen Fresh Foods for some delicious macaroni and cheese.  Spring Glen features everything from chicken pot pie to potato salad to chow chow.  If their other food offerings are as good as their mac and cheese, you’re in for a real treat.

On my way to satisfy my sweet tooth I was distracted by the tantalizing smell of… horseradish?  Yes, the smell of fresh grated horseradish drew me to Long’s Horseradish where owner Mike Long was making a fresh batch.  In addition to horseradish, Long’s offers a number of selections including gourmet horseradish mustard, cocktail sauce, horseradish pickles, and horseradish BBQ sauce.  Per Mr. Long’s recommendation, I later tried the BBQ sauce on meatloaf.  Fantastic!

Then I was off to get my sugar fix at Shady Maple Bakery where I had the best peanut butter filled whoopie pie I have ever tasted.  It was so fresh and moist… I can’t believe I had enough self-control to only eat one.  If you want to try this yummy PA Dutch classic, this is the place to go.

Finally, I was feeling a bit edgy so I thought I’d try a bit of Thai.  I headed over to Narai Exotic Thai Cuisine for their Panang Chicken Curry.  It was flavorful, spicy, and oh so delicious.

So for all those foodies out there, Lancaster Central Market is a must for your “To Do” list.  Open year-round on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, more information can be found at www.centralmarketlancaster.com.

Furniture Shopping in Lancaster County, PA

Planning on redoing a room in your house? Want to find some quality pieces that have been hand crafted here in Lancaster, PA? Between the incredible antique shops & malls that we have, and the handmade Amish furniture, you’re sure to find the unique piece you’re looking for.

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For antiques, make your first stop Adamstown – The Antiques Capitol – where the dealing begins before the sun even begins to shine. There are more stores and antique mall to keep you busy for hours.

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We’ve got tons of handcrafted Amish furniture for you all over the County. Country Home Furniture is located across from Shady Maple Smorgasbord, and they’ve got some beautiful handcrafted home furnishings and one of the area’s largest selections of Amish furniture. So stop at Shady Maple for a great meal, and then when you’re full, walk it off looking at beautiful furniture.

Another great place is George’s Woodcrafts. They make handcrafted furniture for kitchens, dining rooms, offices, and bedrooms out of solid walnut, cherry, and oak. They’ll even custom tailor your piece just for you! I LOVE their rocking chairs.

For some more great handmade furniture, click here.

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