Edens talks farm to table at Rotary

Barrett Edens, owner of the Farmhouse Coffee and Butcher Shop
Staff Writer

The West Point Rotary Club welcomed Barrett Edens, owner of the Farmhouse Coffee and Butcher Shop, during the Thursday meeting at The Ritz Conference Center.

"I've been here in West Point for three years, I was originally from Okolona," Edens said. "My family were in the cattle business for over 130 years. So naturally I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be a professional golfer."

He received a Golf Scholarship from Mississippi State University, and after graduation, decided to turn professional.

"I started to travel on the Golf Circuit," Edens said. "Don't think I was going to Hawaii and other glamorous places to play, no, not me. I was in Waterloo, Iowa and Podunk, Michigan. Being on the road, there were a lot of cool places to eat.'"

Wherever he was, he was looking for the best restaurant in town. Then he told a story about the response he was given at one eatery after asking if the chicken sandwich was good.

"The lady said it was really good," Edens said. "She told me the chicken came from John's Farm right up the street and it had a name. I was just looking for a good chicken sandwich, and it was. That was what got me interested in fresh, locally sourced foods. Every time I was in that town I ate there and they told me the name of that chicken."

Edens said he began to notice the best food came from close, local farms, that were not far from the restaurant.

"You never buy a tomato from the grocery store thinking it will taste like the ones you grown in your own back yard," Edens said. "You know that anything is better if it comes from somewhere close by."

Eden and his dad enjoy a good steak. While eating at a restaurant in Tupelo, he asked his dad if he thought the steak they were eating might have come from one of their cows?

"We went and bought four beautiful, black angus heifers," 'Eden said. "We had the beef processed and thought it was really good. We did it again and invited some friends over to share the steaks with us. They thought those were the best steaks. My dad said probably because any free steaks are really good tasting."

He said they sold the next steaks and the person who bought them raved over them. This made him realize something grown, processed and consumed close by, makes it taste better.

"I was working at Old Waverly and drove by the former Bank First building on Eshman Avenue every day," Edens said. "I kept hoping someone would buy that building. So I bought it. I wanted to do something besides just selling meat, so I decided to sell coffee too, so I could stay awake."

Edens traveled out West to see how they raise cattle. Then he added his own way of doing things, as well. So the meat he sells comes from the family cattle farm in Okolona. He has it processed locally and tries to keep every step in the process from the farm to the Farmhouse Coffee and Butcher Shop, as local as possible.

"I like it when restaurants tell me where the beef comes from and what the cow's name was," Edens said. "I also like to know where the vegetables are grown."

He said several local restaurants buy their beef from his family's cattle farm in Okolona.

"I like chicken," Edens said. "We have plans in the future to raise chickens. I love the taste of fresh chicken."

Growing up in Okolona, Eden said he thought it was normal to go somewhere else to shop, He and his family always went to Tupelo to buy things. Most shops that opened in his home town didn't do very well.

"That was one thing I really like about West Point," Edens said. "There are places that have been here for many years. People support their local businesses. To a small business owner that is incredibly important to have the community behind you."