Clark Bowen is a lifelong peanut fanatic, and CB’s nuts is a reflection of precisely that. He vividly remembers eating them as a child because they were a healthy snack his mom allowed him to help himself to, along with pumpkin seeds and a few other nuts. His peanutty passion carried over into adulthood, though as he grew up, it seemed that the peanuts on the market were less and less fresh and evenly roasted as the legumes of his childhood. He finally decided to start the company a few years ago when he wound up with season tickets to the Mariners games, his motivation being twofold; fresh roasted peanuts for snacking on that were up to his standards, and a little extra cash for game-day beer. (can’t argue with that!).
During that time he met his now wife, who jumped into the nut business with Clark. Soon, a local Washington state football stadium approached them to do private label peanuts for their games, and CB’s began selling to many Seattle-area breweries as well. By 2006 they were in local grocery stores like Whole Foods, and life in the nut business was good. Peanut butter was never really in their initial plans for the business, but it was clearly meant to be (try it!): “Our peanut butter started as a mistake. We were roasting in-shell peanuts for our local Whole Foods when our supplier mis-shipped an order and we received shelled peanuts. Instead of returning them, we got a small grinder and started grinding peanut butter in our retail shop. After a while we decided to start jarring it out of our small grinder just to see if the market would bear a more expensive and tastier jar of peanut butter. Sure enough, it developed a following. In 2011 we received a Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods to purchase commercial peanut butter equipment and started wider distribution of jarred peanut butter.”
Clark and Tami Bowen are devoted to using only American-grown peanuts for their nut butters, and use organic when possible. (the 2011 crop of organic peanuts was ruined, but they’re hoping to be fully organic again soon). With two young children in tow, the struggles of owning a small business can be a big challenge, but the Bowens’ are clearly up to the task; “We feel so lucky to be doing what we love every day. Even through the struggles we get to make our own decisions and we are creating our own destiny.”