If you are ever driving along Highway 60 and are passing the Globe area, you need to make sure to visit The Copper Hen Bakery & Cafe. This adorable locally-owned restaurant has created quite the reputation in the Copper Communities for being the best spot in town to enjoy freshly homemade food, even though it’s been open for only two years.
The eatery is owned by Mike and Anita Stapleton, who have been married for over 23 years. Both are behind the counter and in the kitchen cooking their hearts away for the community. You ask anyone around the area, Anita’s baked goods are probably the most popular in the region. Even before going and sitting down at The Copper Hen, our team got a chance to try these beloved treats with The Copper Hen providing an array of cookies, danishes, and other incredible flaky pastries at the Copper Community Food Hub Study meetings held in January. There is something special about this restaurant and their connection with the community in Southern Gila and Eastern Pinal Counties, which is why we wanted to hear what they had to say about their role in the local food system.
Bringing their Business to Globe
This restaurant is not Mike and Anita’s first. The Copper Hen had originally started in Mesa as Anita’s Custom Cakes, and the couple noticed how well Anita’s cakes were taking off and that people were coming back and asking for cakes specifically done by her. As business owners, this was huge: they saw the potential of this becoming something even greater. The couple also had evolved Anita’s cakes to a breakfast and lunch eatery in Downtown Mesa, but had struggled to keep it open in such a big community amidst all the construction of extending the Valley Metro Light Rail into the area.
Anita explained that she and Mike started coming up and visiting Globe about 8 years ago–specifically for the Mexican food–then had bought a house 3 years ago because of how much they loved the area. Anita talked about how she wanted the atmosphere of their restaurant to compliment how welcoming the community has always felt to her and her family throughout the years. When you walk in, you really do get that warm, comforting, and true hometown feeling that they have been working toward.
The Copper Hen and their Community
The Copper Hen has become a treasured outlet for both locals and visitors. Anita has been investigating how she can incorporate more local Arizona ingredients into her cooking and menu items, including from Danzeisen Dairy and Queen Creek Olive Mill. On an even more intimate level, Anita talks about how she wants The Copper Hen to also become more involved in the community farmers markets and support local Eastern Arizona producers such as local Miami gardener Bob Zache, and Roosevelt farmer Peter Bigfoot. As a consumer and restaurant buyer, she said she would love to see year round farmers markets and have an increase of availability alongside more variety of producers available to purchase from.
Supporting Local Producers and Businesses
I asked Anita, “Why buy local? Why is it so important?” She answered that this is such a small community and that they don’t have much money compared to the valley; which is why any money spent in the Copper Communities should stay in the region. Anita and Mike are just one pair of many who are part of the food system in the Copper Communities. These are local business owners that strive to be part of the solution to the challenges that eastern towns like Globe face, such as poverty, limited employment opportunities, and local business struggling to sustain their enterprises.
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Restaurant buyers such as The Copper Hen can advance efforts in developing the concept of a regional Food Hub. Local First Arizona Foundation, the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation, and the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition have been collaborating to determine a Food Hub model that would be most benefit the local economy and food community.
The Copper Hen is just one of many producers and businesses that participated in the Food Hub Feasibility study. Make sure to check out Good Food Finder AZ to view the other public businesses that participated in the study.
To learn more about Food Hubs and the local Food Hub Feasibility Study, visit our Facebook page. Our team anticipates to discover the needs of consumers, producers, and food artisans in the region to help communities members such as Mike and Anita to turn local and support the community who supports them.