This project was successfully funded by a loan from Steward Regenerative Capital.
Old Salt Co-op made necessary electrical upgrades to their existing processing facility in order to prepare to become a USDA-inspected facility.
Guided by Cole Mannix’s vision, Old Salt Co-op is a collaboration among Montana ranches that are committed to prioritizing connection to agricultural landscapes and quality food. Cole’s ranching expertise is bolstered by a talented staff, including Andrew Mace—chef, former consultant, and current culinary marketing director—whose extensive restaurant background is shaping the co-op’s wholly-owned dining experiences. The Old Salt brand markets meat direct-to-consumer through their fast-casual burger restaurant, Old Salt Outpost, and coming soon, an in-house meat processing facility and a second restaurant, which will serve as a flagship butcher shop, culinary, and retail space.
Old Salt will use this bridge loan from Steward to pay for work that was done earlier this summer to bring in additional electrical capacity that is needed to operate at Old Salt's projected volume.
Construction plans are well under way to convert Old Salt's existing meat processing site into a USDA-inspected facility, where they can process a higher capacity of meats to sell directly to consumers through restaurants, retail locations, and delivery. This will bring high-quality jobs to the greater Helena regional economy, and help bridge the scale gap between local distribution and commercial wholesale markets for local, grass-fed meat.
Old Salt’s model is built on the idea that when producers have an alternative to a commodity system that makes their decisions for them and reduces their profits to razor-thin margins, then producers will also have more resources and capacity to invest in the ecological stewardship of their lands. The co-op intentionally steers away from buzzword branding, which is constantly shifting and can cause division in agricultural communities, in an effort to build connection and investment in sustainable regional food systems.
“Obviously salt fits with meat pretty well,” Cole Mannix says of the Old Salt brand name. “But another reason for the name is the idea of, when customers and producers engage more thoughtfully in the food system together, then we can enhance lands like salt enhances a recipe—like salt of the earth. It’s really about people participating in enhancing land and community rather than being extractive.”
Producers participating in the Old Salt Co-op:
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