California Certified Organic Farmers, Santa Cruz, Calif., is reporting strong growth in the number of its organic certification for 2009.

Last year saw an 8% increase in the number of certification operations and acreage, according to a news release, from 2,007 operations to 2,168 operations, and 558,137acres to 603,545 acres.

CCOF certification of handler or food processor operations grew at 9%, a 50% higher growth rate than the grower segment, according to the release.

Fruit crops saw strong growth last year, according to the release, with CCOF adding 1,545 certified organic raisin grape acres, an increase of 45.4%, certified organic citrus acreage grew 39.2%.

The vegetable category showed mixed results, with some organic vegetable crop acreage growing while others declined.

With less than 100 acres in 2005, organic garlic has experienced 533% growth, with a total of 614 acres to date.  

Declines in vegetable acreage were seen in lettuce, carrots and processing tomatoes, suggesting a constriction in some high production crop areas as a result of the economy.

California organic certifications grow in 2009