Clark Bowen of CB's Nuts

CB's Nuts founder Clark Bowen hits out of the park
Peanut roaster Clark Bowen at the Pike Place Market Artisanal Festival

Clark Bowen first began roasting peanuts to satisfy a personal craving. The Washington native grew up snacking on peanuts produced in small, local roasteries. As time passed and larger corporations bought out the brand he had come to rely on, the quality of his favorite salty snack diminished. Searching for the perfect in-shell peanut proved fruitless, so a frustrated and disheartened Bowen decided to do something about it. “I set out to create the peanut I wanted to eat,” he says. He was successful. In 2002, Bowen and his wife, Tami, introduced the CB’s Nuts peanut stand to Seattle Mariners fans outside Safeco Field. Bowen built up a following, with fans clamoring for his legendary legumes. In 2007, CB’s graduated to a roastery and storefront in Kingston, where it continues to brine and roast a selection of nuts (6013 NE State Highway 104; 360.297.1213; CB’s in-shell jumbo peanuts (salted or unsalted, $3.50 for a 12-ounce bag) and its organic peanut butter ($5.50 for a 16-ounce jar) are now tried-and-true favorites. (Last year, Seattle-based Theo Chocolate added CB’s peanut butter to three of its products.) If you’re looking for more variety, the Bowens also roast hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Bowen doesn’t grow his own Valencia peanuts—they’re not exactly native to Washington—but he is working with researchers at Washington State University to see if farms in the state could support a viable crop. You can find CB’s products at select local markets including Whole Foods, Metropolitan Markets, PCC and Haggen, and on the company’s website.

Published November 2010