Organic suppliers see growth

A gloomy economy may be pinching sales of some segments of the organic food market, but not everyone is feeling the pain.

Produce sales at Kristina's Natural Ranch market in Fresno, Calif., are up 15 percent, said store owner Jim Belcher. And several suppliers of organic produce delivered directly to consumers say they, too, are pleased with their sales. At Abundant Harvest Organics in Kingsburg, Vernon Peterson said his operation has seen steady growth, increasing at times by 1 percent to 2 percent a week. The company supplies weekly boxes of organic produce for nearly 1,600 customers from Fresno to Simi Valley through its Community Supported Agriculture program.

Nationwide, organic food and beverages has grown from $1 billion in 1990 to an estimated $20 billion in 2007. And sales are expected to reach $23.6 billion this year, an increase of 18%, according to the Organic Trade Association.

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