Yoshon Updates

YOSHON SEASON IS NOW OVER. PLEASE CHECK BACK AFTER JULY 15TH FOR UPDATES.

For the STAR-K Yoshon Quick Reference Guide click here
For a Yoshon/Pas Yisroel List of Local Establishments, click here

Yoshon season has officially started. Many people get confused about what the terms Yoshon and Chodosh are. Here we present a brief explanation of each, followed by some product information.

The Torah (Vayikra 23:14) states that the new (i.e., Chodosh) crop of the five grains may not be eaten until after the second day of Passover (i.e., in Israel; in the Diaspora, not until after the third day). This means that the grain harvested this summer would not be allowed until after Passover of next year (i.e., 2017/5777). The term Yoshon (literally, old) refers to crops harvested last summer that became permitted after the following Passover. Thus, the 2015 crop of grains, harvested last summer, became permitted after this past Passover (i.e., 2016/5776). Grain planted at least two weeks (see Dagul Mervava Y.D. 293) or more before Passover is permitted upon harvest since it took root before Passover.

Outside of Israel, there are various customs based on numerous sources whether or not one needs to be stringent about only using Yoshon products. Each person should consult their Rov for guidance. In Israel, however, these leniencies do not apply. Therefore, any Israeli product bearing a reliable Kosher certification is definitely Yoshon.

Wheat in the USA has two planting seasons a year: winter and spring. Winter wheat can be planted anytime between October and February. The wheat grows to a young plant stage and remains in a stalled vegetative state until spring, at which time growth resumes. Once the wheat matures, it is harvested, usually in late spring/early summer. Spring wheat is planted between April and June and harvested as soon as it is ripe, typically 6-12 weeks after planting (usually at the end of July).

Since winter wheat is always planted at least two weeks before Passover, it is always Yoshon. Spring wheat, however, is planted right around Passover and [so far] never more than two weeks before, and thus always a Chodosh concern. Unlike wheat, the remaining four grains are single-season crops. Oats and barley are spring crops, planted around Passover and harvested in the summer, and therefore pose a Chodosh concern. Rye and spelt in the USA are winter crops and therefore never Chodosh.

Between Passover and the end of the summer (mid-August), all grain products are permitted because they are all either from a winter crop or the previous year’s spring crop. The new spring crop only enters the market around August, which signals the start of “the Yoshon season.” At that point, any products containing the new spring wheat, oats or barley may not be eaten by those who adhere to the stringency of Yoshon until after Passover of the following year.

STAR-K policy does not require our certified grain products to be Yoshon. However, any grain products made available at STAR-K certified facilities (e.g., all local bakeries) and characterized as Yoshon or retail products which make a Yoshon claim on the label, are required to be certified as Yoshon by the STAR-K. This means that STAR-K’s oversight program will include verifying the Yoshon status of any products we certify which are marketed and/or labeled as Yoshon.

The Guide to Yoshon by Rabbi Herman, which is updated and published every year, explains how to read the codes on various products to ascertain if they are produced from Yoshon or Chodosh grains. Due to the difficulty some people have in using this guide, we have prepared an abridged version, which will be available HERE containing the most commonly used items and the date code information for those products.

Please refer to the guide for product information as well as local Baltimore establishment information. Since Yoshon availability can change at any time, consumers are urged to check with the Mashgiach at each establishment (or look for posted signs) prior to eating or shopping to ascertain Yoshon status. At catered events, the hashgocho cards will always list the Yoshon status for that event.


August 2, 2016 – 27 Taamuz 5776

THE OFFICIAL START OF THE NEW CHODOSH SEASON

The Chodosh season has begun this year somewhat earlier than usual due to the agricultural conditions in the growing areas. Our estimates of the start of Chodosh for each crop are based on the reports from the US Department of Agriculture. This year, this information is enhanced by reports sent to me by several mashgichim, for which I thank these mashgichim.

  1.  Freshly baked items using spring wheat, including breads, challahs, bagels, rolls, pizza and some cakes and cookies may be Chodosh in the Midwest after the PURCHASE DATE of Jul 29. Elsewhere in the US, this date would be Aug 12.
  2.  Packaged foods from spring wheat may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Jul 29, or the PURCHASE date of Aug 12.
  3. Noodles and pasta may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Aug 13 and the PURCHASE date of Aug 27.
  4. Barley, such as pearled barley, may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Aug 9 and PURCHASE date of Aug 23.
  5. Oats: Oats in all products, including cereals, may be Chodosh starting with a PACKING date of Jul 20, PURCHASE date of Aug 3. (The known exception is for General Mills cereals including all Cheerios, for which the Chodosh packing date is July 31 or later.)
  6. Barley malt (also listed in the ingredients as “malt”) may be Chodosh as of the packing date of Dec 15. Package codes should be checked after the purchase date of Dec 15 for beer made from barley malt and Mar 15 for malt in other products.

Even though pesach was late on the solar calendar this year, still almost all of the 3 crops of interest were planted after pesach and are Chodosh. The early harvest this year is due to weather conditions in the growing areas.


July 28, 2016 – 22 Taamuz 5776

We have not yet received official confirmation from the US Dep’t of Agriculture of the start of the harvest of the Chodosh spring wheat and barley. However, it is certain that this has begun. We have received a message from a mashgiach that at least one mill received shipments of Chodosh spring wheat on Friday, Jul. 22 and a second mill has received Chodosh on Jul 27. These 2 mills are in the Midwest, near the harvest areas. I will not issue final Chodosh cutoff dates for the upcoming season until the official word is out from the US Dep’t of Agriculture, expected this coming Tuesday.  Meanwhile below are the updated revised tentative Chodosh starting dates.

  1. Freshly baked items using spring wheat, including breads, challahs, bagels, rolls, pizza and some cakes and cookies may be Chodosh in the Midwest after the PURCHASE DATE of Jul 29. Elsewhere in the US, this date would be Aug 12.
  2. Packaged foods from spring wheat may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Jul 29, or the PURCHASE date of Aug 12.
  3. Noodles and pasta may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Aug 17 and the PURCHASE date of Sept 1.
  4. Barley, such as pearled barley, may be Chodosh after the PACKING date of Aug 2 and PURCHASE date of Aug 16.
  5. Oats: Oats in all products, including cereals, may be Chodosh starting with a PACKING date of Jul 20, PURCHASE date of Aug 3. (The known exception is for General Mills cereals including all Cheerios, for which the Chodosh packing date is July 31 or later.)
  6. Barley malt (also listed in the ingredients as “malt”) may be Chodosh as of the packing date of Dec 15. Package codes should be checked after the purchase date of Dec 15 for beer made from barley malt and Mar 15 for malt in other products.

Even though pesach was late on the solar calendar this year, still almost all of the 3 crops of interest were planted after pesach and are Chodosh. The early harvest this year is due to weather conditions in the growing areas.

Those who want to purchase Yoshon items to store over the Chodosh season should do so now, as soon as possible.

The next revised update on this topic is due BE”H one week from now.


July 19, 2016 – 13 Taamuz 5776

Yoshon season will be starting very soon. People who are makpid and would like to stock up on items, should do so now. There is no need yet to check dates. Please check back next week for an update.