[Photograph: Jason Walsh]

First off, yes, the tiny chia seeds in NY Superfoods' nut butters, granola, and energy bites are the same seeds you'd plant to sprout a ChiaPet. But they're also nutritional powerhouses, packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and properties that make them appealing to endurance athletes.

That's how they first caught the attention of Jason Walsh and Catherine Mangan Walsh. "We were looking for natural foods to fuel for long runs," Jason explains. He points out that while many chia devotees add the seeds to water for a tapioca-like beverage (the seeds gel in water), they wanted something more practical for a workout a workout. He adds, "We were just looking to solve our own problems."

Now, with a Next Big Small Brand win under their belts, the Walshes are focused on developing retail-friendly packaging and building their brand's identity. As they grow, the Walshes hope to continue developing the charity aspect of their business, which started with their ChiaKind peanut butters, studded with chia seeds. Each of the six nut butters is paired with an athlete whose charity of choice benefits from that flavor's sales. The flavors include Gator Grit (super chunky or smooth peanut butter), Manhattan Mud (smooth Peanut butter blended with vegan dark chocolate), Tribeccah Nectar (smooth peanut butter with agave nectar), Buffalo Dirt (smooth peanut butter made with real coffee), Mohonk Monster (chunky peanut butter blended with vegan dark chocolate), and Boulder Heat (smooth peanut butter with paprika), with charities ranging from scholarship funds to cancer research.

Learn more or order directly from their website.

About the author: Stephanie Klose has more mustard than you. You can follow her on twitter at @sklose.

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