Cody, Lou and Tyler DeRosa, Marconda's Meats, stall #514 and Puritan Poultry, stall #226
Marconda’s Meats has been a fixture at The Original Farmers Market since 1941. In the early 70s, Dave DeRosa, a family member who’d worked at the shop for many years, took over the reins until a few years ago. Then his son Lou took over the day-to-day running of the shop with his three sons, Cody, Tyler and Thomas. All are often working side by side with their father and grandfather, either at Marconda’s Meats or their poultry shop, Puritan Poultry. We stopped by recently to chat with Lou. He greeted us by saying:
We have loved being at the Farmers Market. We love the people. In no other meat market would you have this interaction. I waited on a woman this morning and I’d waited on her mother for years. Her parents shopped here for a long time. We’ve waited on generations of families, just like generations of our family have worked here. At any point during the day, a member of our family will be behind the counter.
Cutting meat is an art. I love doing it. I like doing any kind of finished work, cabinetry, electrical wiring. Cutting meat is like that, it takes skill, patience and strength.
My favorite cut of beef, today, is the Wagyu Sirloin Cap. It’s an incredibly tender piece of meat. Kobe style, but not Japanese. I also love our homemade chicken sausage. Our flat irons are amazing. They were my favorite for a long time.
Every piece of meat has a different taste. Our Piedmontese tastes different from our Angus or Wagyu. All have different flavors, even if the cut is the same cut of beef. How they’re fed makes them taste different. Piedmontese flat iron is one of the best. The whole family loves the cut. It’s an uncommon cut, hard to get out of the animal. Most places don’t sell it because you lose money on it, but my son Tyler has mastered that cut. Also, the Ribeye has more flavor than next to Heaven.
For holidays, we order in the Willie Bird turkey which has been voted the best turkey by chefs from all over the world. We also have free range turkeys, hormone and stimulant free, all fed with vegetarian diets. And, of course, prime rib and boneless rib eye roasts, geese, pheasants, capons, ducks. For Christmas we always add hams and suckling pigs. We offer cooking advice any time of the year at both shops. I can tell you how to prepare a brisket as good as a Jewish grandmother, and I’m Italian!
Lou’s Early Days
I grew up in Sylmar in the Valley, I didn’t always want to be a butcher. As a kid, I wanted to be in radio, so I did mock shows with my friends. I’d make cassette tapes and edit them. Then when the CB craze came in, I used that as a platform. I learned to modulate my voice so I would sound like an excited DJ in action. At the same time, I was also an active roller skater.
I applied to be a DJ at Skateland and I got the job because a DJ took me under her wing. She told management I should be on the staff and I got hired. She was killed by a drunk driver, she was only 20. I always did my best to make sure she’d be proud of me. I did it for eight years, at the same time I started working for my Dad.
My friend, whom I played radio with, we decided to start a mobile DJ business and it was a success. We did weddings and parties from 1982 to 1998. And I worked here at the butcher shop during the day. I left about 4 from here and got to gigs at about 6, two nights a week. I worked four nights a week at the rink until my middle son, Tyler, was born in 1991. I don’t miss it. The new music is not for me.
Lou & Marconda’s Today
I always loved my Dad, I wanted to follow in his footsteps. This business is so much a part of Dad, I wanted to always be part of something my Dad loved so much. This is an extension of our family from its days as grocers in Pennsylvania. That’s where Dad started and learned the trade. My sons and I are just continuing that family tradition that started back in Pennsylvania.
We’ve been here 70 years. This business is my Dad’s life. I know he wishes he lived closer so he could work more. But to see his grandsons take an interest now, he’s thrilled. My youngest, Thomas, is 17. Cody is the oldest, he’s 23. He’s learned a lot, he’s really great at the chicken store and loves mingling with the customers. Tyler, 20, has become an excellent meat cutter, maybe better than I. Tyler’s also a wildland fire fighter on an as needed basis. He hasn’t gone full time with them because he knows he’s a big part of what’s happening here. And Thomas, the youngest, is really good at chickens, he’s working in both shops.
The boys really challenge me, they want to go so fast. They pushed me to get the website finished. We changed the logo to go with the new website. It was inspired by a wooden sign we had made back in the 70s. When I started two days a week grinding pet food in 1977, that sign was here. The new logo on the site looks pretty much like that old one.
My Dad and I think it looks terrific, although he resisted for a while. But he knows good ad copy, probably from his days of writing the double-truck ads for the family store back in Pennsylvania. He was a bit slow on why we needed a good website, but now that it’s up, he really likes it.
Another new idea, the boys want to get a delivery truck. They want it to look like a 40s truck that looks like it’s from when we first opened. They recognize what we have going for us. We’ve been here a long time.
I hope the boys choose other career paths, but work here part time. If I can keep them here with me, it’d just be great. I plan to be here ‘til I’m old.