Why do Californians pronounce the “ah-mond” instead of “al-mond”?
Because we shake the “L” out of them.
Wocka-wocka! Get ready for plenty more nut-related dad jokes at the state’s expense, because yesterday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill of the type that once earned him the nickname “Governor Moonbeam.” Ready? California officially now has four state nuts: almonds, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. LAist noted that this seemingly impossible co-designation began when a fourth-grade class from Modesto petitioned to make the almond the state nut — California produces almost the entire country’s almond crop, and Modesto is a major center — and their sense of civics spiraled to where the mascots of the Modesto Nuts minor-league baseball team tagged along on a trip to Sacramento.
But favoring the almond apparently ravaged the uneasy detente that had prevailed among the nut community or decades, and because agribusiness not only wields a lot of clout but guards it jealously, representatives of other nut growers threw their hats into the ring. The Golden State grows almost all the almonds, it’s true, but we also grow almost all the pistachios and pecans as well. This four-way tie did not yield partisan rancor: It was, apparently, a convivial moment in the State Assembly, and the fourth graders didn’t object.
Still, you can see how Big Pistachio might have a point. Almonds might be smarting from the hit their reputation took at the height of the drought, when we were constantly reminded that each little nut sucked up a gallon of water — and even normally level-headed outlets like Mother Jones were telling us we were all “ignorant hipsters” for putting almond milk in our coffee.
So, it’s kind of ridiculous, but it’s also just one of those silly things that legislatures do from time to time to promote tourism or give certain industries a boost. Beignets are Louisiana’s state doughnut and Utah’s official state dessert is Jell-O, for example. Even Oregon has a state nut, the hazelnut. It’s not as though we have to force-quit the whole universe because California went a little overboard here. And we can now all go about our day knowing that the state is, officially, full of … you get the idea.
And if California ever becomes six states, as some people have proposed, we can tack on pine nuts and chestnuts, too.