Yet on September 13, just three days after the manager sent her letter, a staffer wearing Fusilier’s signature bright orange T-shirt was selling baskets of peaches at the market. Mike Fusilier, who owns the farm with his wife, Kathy, says the fruit came from a rented orchard in Kent City near Grand Rapids. “It’s a contracted job with someone running” the orchard day to day, he says, adding that he uses a similar approach for cherries.
Fusilier says he’d discussed those arrangements with previous market managers and they’d approved them. But Notarianni says that the September sales violated the instructions in her letter, and that she’ll take further action if they continue.
Since July 2007 the market has received three complaints charging Fusilier Farms with “buying and selling” cherries, corn, radishes, and cucumbers—complaints Mike Fusilier dismisses as “frivolous.” He says Fusilier Farms sells at a dozen markets and does sometimes buy vegetables and fruit for resale at places where that’s permitted. But with the exception of the contract fruit, he insists, “we grow everything down on our farm that we sell in Ann Arbor.” Fusilier says he’s been inspected three times in the last fifteen months and is feeling “a little bit harassed”—especially since some growers have not been inspected at all yet.