The rolling blue hills overlooking the vast forests and grasslands of Northern California’s Capay Valley region have always been a source of inspiration for its inhabitants.
For thousands of years, Native American people have called it home, cultivated the land, and honored its beauty. Today, it is home to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, who owns one of the most diverse farming operations in Yolo County and is one of a few tribes with expanding agriculture in California.
These majestic mountains are even the namesake of their line of gourmet olive oils, honeys, and wines - Seka Hills (‘Séka’ meaning ‘blue in Patwin language). Today, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, named after their village meaning “Home by the Spring Water”, follows in their ancestors’ footsteps. They use traditional wisdom and modern, eco-friendly practices to cultivate their 22,000 acres of farmland.
In spring 2008, they planted 82 acres of the highly aromatic, buttery Arbequina olives. In 2011, they broke ground on their Olive mill as well as harvested their first batch of olive oil. The following spring, the Yocha Dehe planted 20 acres of Picual, Frantoio, and Taggiasca olives. By 2012, their olive mill became fully operational.
What makes Seka Hills's olive oils taste so fresh? Their Italian made Alfa Laval, zero waste mill, that is used by the Tribe and surrounding olive growers. The Seka Hills milling process allows minimal exposure to air. This process locks in additional flavors and health benefits.
Sustainability is a key ingredient in Seka Hills’s olive oils. From high efficiency irrigation to selecting crops best suited for their climate, fighting erosion naturally, and teaching the next generation of environmental stewards, every decision the tribe makes centers on preserving and protecting the land. In fact, more than 1,200 acres of their property is in a conservation easement. After the milling process, the olive water is used for research and cosmetics, the pomace feeds cattle, and the remaining water irrigates some of their land.
Finally, their olives are picked at their peak and immediately delivered to their on-site, world-class Alpha Laval mill.
After one taste of Seka Hills’s olive oils, you’ll see why this liquid gold is one of our favorites. Welcome back, Seka Hills!
Photos and video courtesy of Seka Hills