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Organic produce leads the way for the entire organic industry in 2011.

The Organic Trade Association released its 2011 Organic Industry Survey in mid-April, which reflected less than 8% growth in the organic industry overall, but almost 40% growth in organic fruits and vegetables. The organic sector was a $28.6 billion industry in 2010, with organic produce responsible for $10.6 billion – up almost 12% from 2009.

Organic produce is 12% of the total fresh fruit and vegetable industry, according to the report.

“While total U.S. food sales grew by less than 1% in 2010, the organic food industry grew by 7.7%,” said Christine Bushway, executive director of the Organic Trade Association, Brattleboro, Vt.

“These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihood. Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice.”

According to the 2010 U.S. Families Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Survey by Chicago-based Technomic Inc., 41% of families claim to be buying more organic food than they did in 2009. That year, 31% of families reported similarly. At least for the short-term, though, growth in organics seems to have hit its peak, said Kevin Higar, director of research and consulting services for Technomic.