Ever since I moved to Ripon when I was 13, I came into contact with people who called almonds “AHmonds,” without the L.
Countless arguments with friends rarely yielded any substantial reason for the specific pronunciation, other than the old almond grower’s joke “It’s an ‘almond’ in the tree and an ‘amond’ on the ground because it got the L shaken out of it!” Someone finally told me that the pronunciation was in the dictionary, so I went and found one (ready to call bullshit on them) and sure enough they were right. BOTH pronunciations were listed under the word “ALMOND.”
Then I moved to Chico for college and went to work as a student laborer at the Chico State Farm, which has about 70 acres of almonds, and I found out that they said “amond” up there too! My knack for history started kicking in and hypotheses started forming in my head.
A few years later I got a job working for the UC’s division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which has a treasure trove of information on all things involving California’s hundreds of agricultural crops, including almonds.
So I figured, what the hell, I’ll see if I can solve the mystery in my spare time. I contacted some of UCANR’s almond advisors and interviewed them on their knowledge of where people say amond and almond in California. I built a survey and a website to house it, along with a backstory of my hypothesis (and other people have actually come to a similar conclusion as mine by the way), along with an interactive map with data points from the survey. So you can actually visualize where people say almond and amond in California. Super nerdy but this thing has been bugging me for over a decade now.