Baltimore, MD - June 10, 2022 - Eretz Yisroel is known worldwide for its high-quality produce. During non-Shemita years, a wide selection of  Israeli produce items – among them: carrots, citrus fruits, herbs, peppers, and radishes – are exported to North American markets. The typical concern is to ensure proper terumos and maasros are taken. During Shemita, terumos and maasros are not typically applicable, but there is significant concern that the produce may be from Shemita. If someone purchased Israeli produce from Shemita and paid cash (as opposed to check or credit card), returning it to the store may also potentially violate the prohibition of doing business with Shemita produce. If this happened by mistake, a rav should be consulted.

While it can be assumed that all vegetables currently on the market are from the Shemita year, not all Israeli fruits currently on the market are yet from the Shemita year. The Halacha is that the Shemita status of fruits is determined by when they blossomed – not when they are picked. (Vegetables are determined by when they are picked). Therefore, although we are already several months into Shemita, many fruits coming into the market now actually blossomed in the sixth year and so do not have kedushas shevi’is. Consequently, next year, when Shemita is over, fruits that blossomed during Shemita and have kedushas shevi’is will remain an issue for some time longer.

Refer to the chart below for Shemita start dates of common fruits imported from Eretz Yisroel that are now available in North American markets:


Beginning of Shemita Status

Conclusion of Shemita Status

Citrus – Grapefruit, Oranges, Tangerines, Mandarins, etc.

 August 21, 2022

August 21, 2023


 September 9, 2022

 September 9, 2023


 April 8, 2022

 April 8, 2023


 June 22, 2022

 June 22, 2023


 May 24, 2022

 May 24, 2023


 June 12, 2022

 June 12, 2023


 February 1, 2022

 February 1, 2023


 July 15, 2022

 July 15, 2023

Sabra Fruit

 November 30, 2021

 November 30, 2022 


While the majority of the flowers in North America do not come from Israel, some do. The question of whether flowers have kedushas shevi’is is a complex issue. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, ruled that flowers harvested primarily for display do not have kedushas shvi’is. Since most flowers are used primarily for display purposes, they would not be subject to the laws of Shemita. This seems to be the accepted minhag regarding the status of flower imports from Israel in chutz la’aretz.