In the beginning there was just a man who loved peanuts, baseball and beer —
but not necessarily in that order.
The Early Years
The story of CB’s Nuts started with a bag of fresh roasted peanuts bought from a vendor on the way into a Mariners-Orioles baseball game in Baltimore. Clark Bowen was crazy about baseball, but there was something about the smell and flavor of these peanuts that captured his attention and set his imagination off as the ball game began — this was a unique treat you didn’t find in his native Pacific Northwest, and he imagined himself learning the craft and selling these great tasting peanuts outside of the Mariner’s home stadium in Seattle.
Soon Clark was pushing a small hobby-sized roaster to Safeco Field and selling peanuts warm out of the roaster, at first just hoping to make enough to pay for tickets to the game and stadium beer, but finding there were a lot of people eager for his product. During this period Clark met Tami, who would become his wife and partner in the business. Tami noticed that their fresh peanuts appealed to people across diverse demographic groups — they were popular with everybody, and she saw their potential to expand the business.
As his roasting experience grew, Clark found himself interested in antique roasting equipment and the slower/longer roasts they involved that brought out a richer flavor not found in modern roasting methods. He began searching out long retired roasters and restoring them.
Committing to roasting nuts full-time was a big step. The couple worked out of their home for a while but soon needed a dedicated space, buying an old fire station on Highway 104 outside of Kingston. Several key things followed: Once you’ve mastered peanuts you can’t help but experiment with other nuts and seeds, and the Bowen’s tried their hands at many varieties, adding their favorites to CB’s offerings. Realizing that roasting was just the last step in a bigger process, Clark and Tami became more interested in the sources of their nuts and seeds and began traveling around the growing regions of the country to visit farmers and build partnerships with the growers that valued quality products and sustainable agricultural methods.
Through retail/wholesale partnerships with stores and companies that value the artisan small batch quality of CB’s products, continued growth has been possible, making CB’s Nuts available to an ever-growing consumer base. Due to a “happy accident” CB’s expanded into peanut butter production after receiving a large shipment of peanuts that had mistakenly been shipped shelled. The small retail store at the old fire station had long had a small grinder for making peanut butter for walk-in customers, but this large quantity of already shelled peanuts was turned from problem into opportunity with the purchase of a production grinder. Soon more shelled peanuts were being ordered from growing partners and CB’s fresh roasted peanut butter (1 ingredient — fresh roasted peanuts) was available in quantities that could stock retail displays in grocers around the region.
Eventually most roasting and peanut butter production was moved to a facility just down the road, allowing the tasting room/retail store to grow into the whole fire station space, where a lovingly restored nearly 100 year old roaster (Adam’s Peanut Butter’s original roaster in Tacoma in the 1920’s) is the centerpiece, still slowly churning out several small batches of fresh roasted peanuts daily for visitors to experience.
What Matters to Us
Over the years Clark and Tami have become dedicated to principles that govern their business decisions; knowing and working with their growing partners/farmers to be responsible stewards of the land, sourcing quality foods grown in USA, using organic ingredients whenever they are available, and taking the time to craft the tastiest, most nutritious foods we know how to make.