California Chia


Salvia columbariae. Yes, yes, our native Chia is a relative of the green-furred pets pushed around the holiday season.  But historically, Chia is arguably the most important wild food crop in the Americas. Used by Native American hunters, traders, and warriors, a small handful of seed could sustain them for a strenuous overnight trip. It was the central food crop of the Mayan and Aztec cultures, cultivated from 1500 B.C. until the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

We now know that it was the unique nutritional content of Chia seed that gave them their strength. It is loaded with Omega -3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, surpassing even this well-regarded benefit of flax seeds. Its large content of antioxidants makes it stable for long storage. Chia is water soluble, unlike other grains that needs to be milled to release their nutrients effectively. Research now suggests that this solubility has a secondary benefit of slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugars, making it a valuable supplement for balancing blood sugars. The seed contains approximately 20% protein and 40% fiber.

Chia has a nutty flavor and is commonly consumed as a beverage. Chia Fresca is a popular drink in Central America. It can also be blended into yogurt and muffin mixes. Because of its stability and nutrition processed food companies are beginning to include chia in a diverse list of products including baby food, snack bars, and livestock feed.

Our Salvia Columbariae seeds are not for eating, but for growing your own Chia. Like most of our native salvias, insects and critters tend to leave it alone. It works best in patches and can be treated as a wildflower. The seeds are tested for purity, germination and pure live seed counts by certified agricultural laboratories for optimal growing results.

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