Today The New York Times drew attention to the olive oil produced by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in the Capay Valley of Yolo County, California.
The tribe, which operates the successful Cache Creek Casino Resort near Sacramento, last summer purchased a mill, custom-manufactured in Florence, Italy. Now the tribe is bottling and selling its oil.
Courtesy Seka Hills
Nestled between the Napa and Sacramento Valleys, the Capay Valley is a tranquil agricultural region with a climate similar to the Mediterranean. Mild winters, long hot summers and undulating well-drained soils provide the ideal environment for cultivating the most fragrant olive groves.
The state-of-the-art mill is the first of its kind in the U.S., offering minimal exposure to oxygen to better preserve the flavor of the oil.
Made from Arbequina olives harvested from the tribe's olive trees in the Capay Valley, the oil—certified by California State as extra virgin—offers a smooth and buttery flavor, with a hint of grass and black pepper. The Times describes it: "Chartreuse and medium-bodied, it is on the mellow side, hinting of herbs, and in the back of the palate, pepper."
The tribe served its Séka Hills Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the official April 30 launch of its new product brand, Séka Hills, held at Mulvaney’s B&L Restaurant in downtown Sacramento. At the tasting event, the olive oil was paired with French bread and organic asparagus from the Yocha Dehe farm, as well as the tribe's award-winning wine. Read Indian Country Today Media Network's article about the launch event.
While the tribe expands its Séka Hills line of products, it also aims to develop relationships with neighboring farmers and promote a growing industry in Yolo County by introducing the first mill to the area. The county’s olive farmers currently truck their fruit as far as 112 miles to Sonoma, Corning or Stockton for access to a high-quality mill, according to the tribe’s press release. “We have two goals,” Etters told ICTMN last year. “The first is to produce super premium oil under the Séka Hills label. The second goal is to offer custom milling to growers to produce oil under their label.”
Séka Hills Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available at Market Hall Foods in San Francisco for $16 for 16.9 ounces, markethallfoods.com. Soon, the oil will also be available at sekahills.comand at Nugget Markets at nuggetmarket.com.