HELENA — Old Salt Co-op has recently begun selling retail butcher’s bundles to the public, providing local Montana meats to customers.
“This is a response to the what's happening in the broader industry. But Old Salt knows darn well that we can't go, you know, we're tiny, we can't go confront the meat industry head on. And so, we're not going to sell through the conventional channels, you know, the distributors, the big wholesalers. We're going to start by just trying to build relationships with Montanans,” says President of Old Salt Co-op, Cole Mannix.
Old Salt Co-op, while technically an LLC, functions like a co-op according to Mannix. They began selling these retail meat packages on Monday, December 12. They began as a burger and fry store out of the Gold Bar downtown. Since then, they have been expanding their operation. They operate a meat processing facility, and now offer curated retail packages with meats from four different Montana ranching partners.
But according to Mannix this endeavor is deeper than just selling meats. It’s a way of giving back to those who have worked so hard to deliver the product.
“Yeah, ultimately the goal is: drive more value to go back to ranch stewardship; to the people who are actually selling the livestock and are managing land and wildlife on a daily basis,” says Mannix.
Mannix went on to say that this is a way for Montanans to keep connected with and maintain the natural landscape that stretches across private and public lands.
“Those lands are just as important as the public lands for hosting the wildlife populations that we have. And so, you know, purchasing locally and building relationships with local agricultural producers through their products is one huge way to invest in the future of that same outdoors and those same wildlife that people care about,” says Mannix.
Old Salt is in talks to buy the place where Bert & Ernie’s is in order to have a restaurant there called Butcher’s Table as well as a retail meat shop. Mannix says they are even planning on branching into festival waters with an Old Salt festival slated for next June.
In addition to being able to buy online for pick-up or delivery, Old Salt will also have retail butcher’s bundles to buy on Fridays from 12-6 p.m. in person at Old Salt Outpost downtown.