Shifra from Unsdorf asks:
I have heard that white
skinned potatoes are already free of sh’mittah laws, but that the red
skinned variety are still problematic. Is this true?
Your information is correct. The
vast majority of white skinned potatoes on the market are from the eighth year
crop, which are permitted even if they may have been (illegally) sown in the
seventh year. There is still a small amount of this type of potato available
which is forbidden because of s’fichin. These were picked in the seventh
year and are clearly distinguishable since they look older than the new crop.
However, all the red skinned potatoes available at the present time were
picked in the seventh year and therefore fall under the prohibition of s’fichin.
Other types of vegetables which could still be forbidden are carrots, onions,
garlic, sweet potato and pumpkin. It is always best to buy from a shop which has
a reliable hechsher. Not only does one avoid kashrus problems, but
one also supports the cause of reliable kashrus.