On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into California law that officially declared the almond, pecan, walnut and pistachio to each be the state nut. This is a true thing that happened and not fake news. Section 422.3 of California Government Code now reads as such: “The almond (Prunus dulcis, Prunus amygdalus), walnut, pistachio, and pecan are each the official state nut.”
What gives? Almonds, walnuts, pistachios AND pecans are the state nut, according to bill signed by Jerry Brown. Couldn’t pick one?
— Christopher Cadelago (@CapitolAlert) July 10, 2017
The heroes of this story can be found in an elementary school classroom in Merced, where a group of fourth graders noticed The Land of Fruit and Nuts’ glaring lack of an official California state nut and decided to do something about it. Like reasonable people, the fourth-grade class at Margaret Sheehy Elementary School chose a single nut, and wrote letters to their state representative Assemblyman Adam Gray urging him to help make it official. “Their idea was to make the almond, which is kind of predominate in this immediate area [of Merced], the state nut,” Gray’s senior policy advisor Robin Adam told LAist.
“We discovered that we were underrepresented because we don’t have an official state nut,” Margaret Sheehy Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Marc Medefind told the Merced County Times. “Other states, such as Arkansas, Texas and Missouri have state nuts but not California.”
Gray took up their cause and introduced legislation to make the almond, which accounts for a $4 billion dollar industry, the state nut. The fourth graders were even invited to the Capitol for an Assembly committee hearing on the matter in May. They showed up in Sacramento looking extremely adorable with extensive almond research at the ready, joined by the mascots from the Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team: Al the almond, Wally the walnut, and Shelly the pistachio. Perhaps the additional mascots should have portended the complications to come.
It turns out there are plenty of nuts in California, and some of the others weren’t so happy about the pending legislation. The elementary schoolers and minor league baseball mascots were joined at the hearing by an additional set of guests: representatives for Big Pistachio, Big Pecan and Big Walnut.
“Interestingly, walnut, pistachio and pecan farmers or associations then weighed in [at the hearing] and said, ‘Well, wait…