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Helmville's Mannix Ranch hosts second Old Salt Festival

Woodpile for the grills at Old Salt Festival, Helmville
Posted at 8:37 AM, Jun 24, 2024

HELMVILLE — We all eat food but we rarely know where it comes from and that’s why the people at Mannix Ranch created the Old Salt Festival to teach people the importance of knowing their food’s origins.

For its second year, the Mannix Ranch in Helmville was cleared out to make room for the event which encourages people to educate themselves on where their food comes from.

Cole Mannix, the festival’s founder says the event emphasizes the importance of buying food locally and appreciating the land it came from.

“We’ve got to get better at how we use land. We’ve got to recognize that we depend on it like it’s part of our family and that means we’ve gotta stop treating food production,” Mannix said.

“For that matter clothing production, as something we take and extract from the land and never have to replenish," Mannix continued.

One of the ways this festival pays tribute to the land around it is by cooking all of the event’s food in the most natural way possible, over a wood fire.

Old Salt Co-Op culinary director Andrew Mace says this was the best way to go back to the roots of cooking.

“Cooking meat over a fire and just gathering around a fire is just so core and deep in our DNA and [there’s] something real pure and carnal about just roasting meat over a fire,” Mace said.

“I think it’s just really elemental really basic thing, that connection, food, fire, warmth all those things are really core," Mace added.

Mace also says chefs came from Montana, Oregon and Maryland to cook on the wood grills, and the chefs who showed up all focus on cooking local food.

“You know a lot of our food supply is just anonymous we don’t have a connection to where a lot of our food comes from. So to be able to be here on the landscape where animals were raised and to be able to cook them and serve them, I think it just brings everything full circle.

More information about the Old Salt Co-Op can be found at