Marketing

Florida has many opportunities for small farmers who are interested in organic production. Certified organic farms follow strict production guidelines established by the United States Department of Agriculture, and farms are audited annually for compliance. Florida farms are currently offering a wide range of certified organic products including sugar, milk, beef, citrus, culinary herbs and vegetables. Florida organic products are sold throughout the US as well as overseas. These products are sold through a variety of markets including: 

  • Natural foods retailers

  • Mass market retailers

  • Distributors

  • Restaurants

  • Direct to consumers

Sales of organic food products in Florida may reach 8.4 million in 2007 ifthe market in our state is growing at a rate comparable to the national market. Nearly 75% of conventional markets including regional and national chains now sell organic fresh market produce; however organic fruits and vegetables sold in these chains are from California. Clearly, there is much opportunity for growth in this area. Organic products are one of the fastest growing enterprises with an average 20% annual sales increase since 1990. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, domestic sales of organic foods were $14.6 billion US dollars in 2005, and 43% of those sales were fruit and vegetables. The market share of organic fresh fruits and vegetables is 2.5% of all fruits and vegetables sold in the US. Consumer demand for many organic products is increasing faster than our domestic farmers can supply.

Florida’s population is expected to reach 25 million by 2025 and during the past year, agricultural land prices have increased substantially across the state. There are over 42,000 farms in Florida earning $1.8 billion dollars for the state. As of 2007, there are 133 certified organic operations in the state. US census data from 2002 and supported by data in a Florida Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG) survey instrument estimated organic area at 12,000 acres and sales at 4 million dollars in 2002. Organic vegetable production comprised 50% of the state’s organically managed area. The remaining area in organic production includes citrus and livestock. New data generated from the 2007 US census will provide accurate data on area under organic management and provide much-needed information for interested stakeholders. For more information about the marketing organic products, please see the resources listed here or contact your local UF-IFAS County Extension office.

UF/IFAS Publications

Resources from Other Universities or Federal Agencies

Additional Resources