MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - Eileen O’Connor’s Famous Irish Corned Beef Brisket will soon be making its debut in Marshalltown.
And following will be O’Connor’s Famous Irish Pot Roast and Irish Bacon.
Put simply, the revered O’Connor name is not one made up to promote a variety of meat products, rather, the family matriarch was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1952. She lived in Marshalltown many years with husband Frank Leavy, raising seven children before moving west.
In 1989, Frank and three sons started Harvest Meat Co. and their trucks will deliver the products bearing the O’Connor name.
But know well that the company’s origins had their start first in Ireland - as Frank’s father - Laurence, sold meat from a horse drawn cart in County Meath, rural Ireland.
Laurence died at a young age, but Frank took the entrepreneurial torch and eventually made his way to Marshalltown, where he opened the Leavy Brothers Meat Market.
Joining him in ownership were Jim and Tom Leavy, who also had emigrated from Ireland.
One location was 709 N. Third Ave., near the present day Dairy Queen.
“If you ask anyone over the age of 50 where they got their meat when they were young,” Trisha (Leavy) Archer of Tulsa, Okla., told the Marshalltown Times-Republican (https://bit.ly/1kV7wZi ). “I bet their answer would be ‘at Leavys of course.’”
Nuala (Leavy) Smith, Tom’s daughter, who lives in Marshalltown with husband Greg, recalled when the family traveled by ship to New York and then by train to Marshalltown.
“My father worked 16 months in the U.S., so he could bring his wife Kathleen and six children from Ireland in 1955,” she said.
Archer, who graduated from Marshalltown High School in 1987, owns a law practice in Tulsa, Okla., and is proud of her Irish ancestry, as are all the Leavys. She proclaims herself as a first generation Irish American born. Archer is equally proud of the family’s business success.
Harvest Meat Co. is headquartered in San Diego, with regional offices throughout the U.S.
More than 400 employees, 140 trucks, and nine distribution centers, coupled with partnerships with suppliers, have allowed it to surpass $1 billion in sales.
The founder, Frank, is retired in Scottsdale, Ariz., while brothers Tom and Jim are deceased.
Frank’s children now carry on the family business in grand style.
“Our trucks frequent Marshalltown on a weekly basis providing only the highest quality of meat and service to our customers in the midwest,” said Mike Leavy, Frank and Eileen’s son, and eastern regional manager for the company in Kansas City. “Although the company distribution network is national in scope, our roots and pride for community past and present were instilled by our mother, Eileen O’Connor Leavy and father, Frank. Their seven children graduated from the Marshalltown Community School District, and are proud to have been Bobcats!”
He said their mother would be pleased to know the company is donating $1 to the Marshalltown Roundhouse renovation project for each package of Eileen O’Connor’s Famous Irish Corned Beef sold by local Marshalltown retailers.
Mike is also excited to introduce the company’s new corned beef brisket, pot roast and bacon.
“We are optimistic that based upon the product performance that it will earn a spot in Hy-Vee stores in the future,” he said.
Information from: Times-Republican, https://www.timesrepublican.com
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