A Brief History of Mt. Capra

Mt. Capra’s history has spanned nearly a century; therefore, the following is meant merely as a brief overview of the past decades.

In 1928 a young farmer named Melvin Eggers began making raw goat milk cheese from the milk produced on his small goat dairy. He called both his farm and business Briar Hills Dairy. While he continued to make the delicious raw cheeses, Mr. Eggers also found that by carefully and gently drying the leftover whey, he could preserve the unique mineral and electrolyte-rich properties found in liquid whey.1 He referred to this nutritional whole food simply as WHey EXtract or WHEX.

WHEX played a major role in the health revolution taking place during the 1930s when world-renowned nutrition guru Dr. Bernard Jensen began taking and prescribing WHEX along with goat milk as ideal foods for his hundreds of thousands of patients. (Dr. Jensen continued to be one of the most vocal proponents of goat milk until his death in 2001 at the age of 92.) Melvin and his son Peter continued the family business into the mid-1980s at which point both father and son made the decision to retire from farm life. Having come to this monumental decision, they were faced with the difficult task of finding someone who would carry on the legacy they had created and take over both the farm and business. It was at this time that they reached out to a young, aspiring, and dedicated farmer named Frank Stout.

Frank saw immense potential in goats, cheese, and other related goat milk products and also saw how many of his fellow farmers were selling their farms and animals to mega corporations, no longer able to compete in a market consumed by the mantra of “get big or get out.” January of 1985 came, and with the promise of the new year Frank began the next saga in the life of Briar Hills Dairy. One of the first changes Frank made was changing the name of the company to Mt. Capra (capra is the Italian word for goat). For the next 20 years, Frank produced award-winning raw goat milk cheeses along with WHEX. His main avenue for connecting with customers was at the historic Pike Place Market where locals “in-the-know” would clamor after his much beloved goat milk products. After a brief legal dispute over the trade name of WHEX, the name was changed to Capra Mineral Whey and is made the same way today as it was in the 1920s.

Frank always envisioned his company being passed down to his children should they so desire to be a part of the work he was doing.  As a result of this vision, he took every opportunity to train and teach each of his four children the merits of hard work, wholesome food, compassionate animal husbandry, and smart business sense. In 2003 his first born son, Joe, then only 19, decided to make Mt. Capra his career and future. Joe enrolled at Washington State University later that fall and completed a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. He then immediately began graduate-level work in Clinical Human Nutrition. While pursuing his Master of Science degree, Joe also spent many hundreds of hours teaching elementary students in low-income school districts the importance of following a healthy whole-food diet as well as how to prepare meals from high quality ingredients on a limited budget.

During this time, Mt. Capra was continuing to grow in a booming economy. By 2003 the demand for whole-food nutritional products, such as protein and colostrum, was so great that Mt. Capra made the difficult decision to end the production of raw goat milk cheese entirely. In early 2012 more changes were on the horizon. Frank felt the call into the medical profession and enrolled in the prestigious Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. In his absence, both farm and processing facility are under the care of his son Joe who now lives on the farm with his wife, Elizabeth, and their six children.

Even after nearly a century of changing times, Mt. Capra has kept the same values and vision that it was founded upon. We are still a family-run company made up of bio-dynamic, regenerative father/son farmers and grass-fed fanatics, creating wholesome and nutritious products from one of nature’s greatest foods. And thankfully, some things will never change. ∆

  1. The leftover liquid whey (think of the nursery rhyme “curds and whey”) is actually not high in protein even though we are used to seeing the term whey protein. It is high in minerals and electrolytes, what Melvin was capturing []

Joe Stout, MS

Joe and his wonderful bride Elizabeth have been married for 11 years and have been blessed with 6 (soon to be 7) beautiful children. Joe has earned both Masters and Bachelors of Science Degrees in Human Nutrition. Along with running the farm, he has engaged in graduate studies of Sustainable Food Systems and is also certified in Permaculture Design.

18 comments on “A Brief History of Mt. Capra

  1. Is the Capra Milk, the goat milk product that I can use to give to my 4 month old baby boy?
    Please Advise, thank you very much
    Kathleen

    • Both my sisters (2 years difference), started goat whey at the age of 1 month. The second had the benefit of having the goat whey AND whey protein. They are more than awake, alert and ready for pretty much anything. We had the chance of being in a naturopath family and to be exposed to benefits of “The Goat Legacy”. With what I saw as results, I would recommend it to anyone. Don’t take my word for it, ask your naturopath 😉

  2. Please advise if your powdered Mt Capra goats milk is or is not pasteurized. Many thanks in advance for your reply.

  3. This is my first order of many to come. It’s so nice to be able to purchase from a family business with an impressive history. I also like seeing the video with the goats that provide me my whey. I have already told several people about Mt Capra. I wish you much success and thank you for your service.
    Blessings
    Sheryl Allen

  4. I thought I found once on your website where you talked about the wormer you use on the goats. I can not seem to find it again.

  5. Why were you able to produce raw goat cheese but you cannot produce raw goat milk weigh and protein products? I see raw goat milk at my co-op. What is the specific law that requires you to pasteurize? Also can you please speak about the goats’ diet? Is it organic? Do you use pesticides and herbicides on your farm? Thanks.

    • Mt. Capra does not sell raw goat cheese, raw goat milk, or raw protein products. You’ll find the Washington State regulations for milk and milk products here:
      http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=15.36.021

      Our goats forage on natural grass pasture as often as Northwest weather permits. When they cannot get fresh grass due to inclement weather, we provide a mix of fresh barley fodder, grown right on our farm, organic haylege, and fresh water mixed with a portion of apple cider vinegar to naturally reduce / kill parasites. We do NOT use any pesticides, herbicides, chemicals or GMOs on our farm.

      For more information about our barley fodder, check out the video here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EENNskLTaNg

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