We are Dublin’s oldest family run fresh produce company. We have been delivering fresh fruit and vegetables nationwide for more than 130 years, over five generations.
We first opened on the 6th of December 1892, in Dublin’s Victorian Fruit Market. One of the first traders of the area to take up a stand in the new market building on the 6th of December 1892, was Kate Leonard.
Kate had sold fruit and fish from her pitch in the old Ormond market, which was closed in 1890 to facilitate the building of a new purpose built market. This was to house the tenant's of the old Ormond market. As a result, she was one of the first traders afforded a stand in the new corporation fruit market.
After Kate's retirement in the early 1900's, her son Jack took over the business and named the company “LEONARD & SONS”. Jack also opened a retail greengrocer shop on North Kings street at number 175 North Kings street. Just opposite his house in Linen Hall Parade. Jack ran the two outlets with the help of his two eldest sons.
In 1947 he was joined by his youngest and third son Jackie, who the business is now named after. Jackie took over from his Dad Jack and renamed the company “Jackie Leonard & Sons” in 1983.
The business is now run by 4th generation Justin Leonard (Jackie's son) & his sons Sean and Justin Jnr and daughter Margaret who are also currently working in the business representing the 5th generation of the Leonard family to continue this family business.
History of the Dublin fruit market
Founded and built in 1892, the Dublin fruit and vegetable market was one of the British Isles last trading Victorian fruit markets. The Jewel in the crown, only second in place from London's Covent Market.
The main reason for its establishment of the Dublin Corporation Fruit market was hygiene. Food had being sold off the back of carts in dirty streets and the tenant's of the old Ormond market required a proper purpose built structure in which to sell their produce.
On the 6th of December 1892, the market was officially opened for business by Dublin corporation. The market was built to give the traders of the area a permanent structure to trade fresh produce and fish. Since Viking times, the area around the market, which is situated on St. Michan’s Street, just behind the four courts Dublin and adjacent to Capel Street was always an area where traders sold their fresh produce, meat, fish and game.
When the market opened, all goods sold were fresh and could only be obtained ‘in season’. Refrigeration did not become available until the 1930s and not on a mass scale until later, perhaps the 1970s. Nowadays, most produce is available all year round, due to a combination of cold storage and better transport (so that produce can be imported from the southern hemisphere during our off-season).
One of the very first wholesalers to enter the corporation fruit market was Catherine (Kate) Leonard, she was a respected fresh fish and Fruits Wholesaler and former trader of the afore mentioned Ormond Market.
Unfortunately, the Market was closed in august 2019, to the detriment of the Dublin 7 community and the city of Dublin. However, as Dublin’s oldest fresh produce company, we are still situated beside the old market building in Anne Street north.