Move over, Kardashians! Farm Kings are the new reality TV stars

MERCER, Pa. — Grab a bowl of popcorn and turn on the television. There is a new reality series in the making, but it’s not your typical love story kind or survival of the fittest.

No, it’s about a different type of love affair. It’s about the love of the soil, wondering what the weather will do and surviving the turbulent economic markets.

Reality series

Farm Kings is a television series being created to highlight what it is like to live on a farm and depend on it for your livelihood.

Farm Kings is about a family farm, Freedom Farms, located between Valencia and Butler, Pa. The series focuses on nine brothers, one sister and their mother.

Farm and Dairy had the opportunity to watch the reality series being filmed at the Mercer Livestock Auction June 5.

The family branched out into their own operation four years ago. Since then, the family has increased acreage for their vegetable business from 150 acres to 500. They have two farm markets. Freedom Farm Market is located on Pittsburgh Road in Butler, Pa., and the other, Market at New Kensington, is located on Shearsburg Road in New Kensington, Pa.

Related: Farm Kings: Reality TV comes to a Pennsylvania farm to see real drama

The family has also rehabilitated an old bakery and began business as Boldy’s Homemade Goodies on Pittsburgh Road in Butler. The bakery is located about a mile away from the Freedom Farm Market.

They also raise 1,500 free range chickens, and one of the sons, Dan, is contemplating branching out into the cattle business.

The beginning

Lisa King, the mother of the boys, said it all started when the four oldest boys appeared on the front cover of the magazine, Edible Allegheny, with no shirts.

“They were then deemed ‘the shirtless farmers’,” said Lisa.

Television series

Word spread and before the family knew it, they received a call. A film crew wanted to come out and film the family for three days. A premiere was created from that video and the network signed on to it. The premiere will appear at 9 p.m. June 14 on the cable network, Great American Country (GAC).

Now, the film crew is back and they are taping the family’s moves so a 10-episode series can be created for airing in September.

“They (the network) are interested in families and farming, so we think it’s a good fit. It’s a show about young American farmers determined to be a success. Let’s face it, they are a dying breed,” said Lisa.

“It has changed our lives a little bit. We are just hoping it doesn’t slow us down farming.”

Cattle business

Dan King, 22, was at the Mercer Livestock Auction June 5 because he’s trying to diversify the farm even further and build a cattle operation.

“I’m still new to this. I’m reading all I can and doing all the research possible,” said Dan.

He said he thinks he wants a cross breed of cattle with some black Angus in it. He added that he appreciated all of the insight about the cattle markets the local farmers gave him at the auction.

“It’s a learning experience here today. I’m trying to take in as much as I can,” he said.

Dan said he wants his own part of the farming business and cattle would fill the need. He added that his brothers need him for the vegetable end of the farm, but the cattle would give him his own division in the farm and yet let him be available to help out in the vegetable side.

Rotations

He said a pasture-based system with the cows will help provide fertilizer for the farm land, and when the cattle get finished in a paddock, the free-range chickens could be rotated into the land.

“I want to use the whole cycle,” said Dan.

Message

Lisa and Dan said they want viewers to take a message away from the show — to realize how important it is to support local farmers, use CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and get back to the natural ways of the land, including canning their own vegetables.

“We want viewers to become less dependent on others outside the community. Buy from your local farmer,” said Lisa.

“We want kids to know that chicken nuggets don’t come from Wal-Mart. We want them to know where their meat comes from,” said Lisa.

If the show picks up enough interest, Lisa said a second season could be in the making.

To read more about my experience, watching the reality series being filmed in Mercer, Pa., click here.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

39 Comments

  1. mimi says:

    THANK YOU…..THANK YOU…..THANK YOU!!! FROM ALL THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD!!!BEAUTIFUL….BEAUTIFUL FARM BOYS…SWEATY….ENOUGH SAID!!
    I HAVE PLANNED MY WHOLE DAY AROUND TONIGHTS SHOW!!!

    GET READY BOYS…..YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE!!

    SO CAN I BE THE FIRST TO ASK……PETER…..DAN….TIM…..DATE NITE??

  2. Carol Ann Kaplan says:

    Down home goodness at its finest The produce looks good, too! :-)

  3. ceeli says:

    thank you geeeezus!!! dayum, that’s a nice bunch’a boys, you raised there, mrs. king. gorgeous but also hard workers and just great all american guys. they’re going to get sooo many marriage proposals after this airs! their mother is quite fabulous herself, still beautiful after all those kids and working so hard out in the elements. i’m curious about the father, though, hope we find out what the deal is there.

    • Sally Seashells says:

      I’m writing in response to your question about the father, Joseph P. King of the 10 children.
      He is a great Christian man. He helped raise all of his children, up until 5 years ago when Lisa decided to take another path, her path. Joseph wasn’t a saint, but none of us are, are we? He worked hard in the fields, markets… To support and build the business. He continues to run his farm along with the younger sons and himself. He has the younger boys on Wednesdays and every other weekend. However,It breaks his heart on how the divorce split the family.
      Lisa proclaims to be a “Matriarch” of the King Family. Which only leads me to believe that she’s acting as if Joseph is dead. As long as he is alive, Joseph is the patriarch. It took three years for the divorce to be finalized, giving her two farms (150 acres) including the farm equipment…
      He is a great Christian man.

      • tom says:

        Yeah, well this is only HALF of the real story!!

      • Kyle Booth says:

        What was the problem? Family seems to have some great things going for them and raising a handicapped son as well. What is their church background? We do a similar thing and have really enjoyed the program thus far.

        Thanks,
        Kyle Booth

      • I noticed Mr. King wasn’t at the North Side Farmers market this year. I just heard he sold his farm. I hope is doing well and that I MISS HIS CORN. He had the BEST. I enjoyed seeing his family over that last 20 years at the market. Sometimes, we would even make the trek out to his farm for corn.

        Sad not to see him at the farmers markets.

        Cathy

      • Ann says:

        He was not a saint. Would love to know what that means. My dad was not a saint. Want to know what that meant? He was a womanizer and an alcoholic. Love the show, love the mom, love those children. Let’s support our small farmers. May God bless her and the children.

      • MAK says:

        Why do the older boys not have a relationship with the dad? Is it something the dad did or did Lisa turn them against him?

  4. kevin says:

    where did you learn to write? “Said Lisa” “Said Dan” “Lisa said”

    dont you know they teach 4th graders for a whole month of the year how to use allegory without using the word “said”

    you’re doing this show a disservice, said kevin.

    • Tracey says:

      In journalistic writing, there is no good substitute for the verb “said.” … The problem with a substitute is that they are laden with added meanings that the writer may not want to include. For instance, a writer might try to use “claimed” instead of “said.” Claimed implies doubt — as if to say, he “claimed” he did it, but we’re not sure…Stick with the verb “said.” It’s simple and straightforward, and you won’t have to carry any extra baggage by adding to its meaning.
      — James Glen Stovall, journalism professor at the University of Alabama for 25 years.

  5. Shiny says:

    I second Tracey; “said” means that this is a direct quote, and not paraphrasing. I think folks are getting used to blogs where writers are able to quote without having to verify their source material. I’m glad to see a writer who is interviewing and properly quoting her source, instead of adding their own flourishes and confabulations to sell their story.

    I’m a little leery of the plan to add cattle to a produce farm; there is already a problem with bacteria from manure getting into the food supply and making consumers sick. Wouldn’t adding cattle mean adding harmful bacteria?

    • Rick says:

      ” Wouldn’t adding cattle mean adding harmful bacteria? ”

      No. Not if they are grass fed and you rotate properly. Most of the harmful bacteria come from corn fed beef.

      • Len says:

        All manure has bacteria. Not just corn fed. Don’t bash a product you don’t no anything about.

    • Shiny says:

      My original post was about the health concerns of controling harmful bacteria like e-coli when farming both livestock and produce; making sure the manure doesn’t contaminate the food will become a greater issue if the Farm Kings add on more cattle, regardless of what the cattle are being fed.

      Contaminated runoff from commercial livestock farms are what are causing the big outbreaks of contaminated produce. I hope the Farm King will stick to only produce rather than take on that additional risk of contaminating the produce they are famous for by adding on more livestock.

      I’m also curious to see how the drought impacts that decision; I’m guessing the higher cost of feed due to the drought will put a crimp in their cattle ranch dream.

      • Farm mom says:

        You really need a reality check! Do you have ANY idea the chemicals and steroids that are used by overseas companies in order to preserve fruits, vegetables, and meats? Also you have obviously never been to or have seen the Tyson plants. Small local farms are the back bone of this country and if they educate and plan accordingly, they will be safe and successful.

    • Maggie Henry says:

      Goodness no! Contamination comes from filthy stock yards and factory farms that feed animals on concrete. Grazing a small herd of beef cows rotationally and following the cows with chickens actually sanitizes the pasture and spreads the cow pies out so it fertilizes the soil. Research dung beetles for the whole story, I don’t have the time or the inclination to write about soil health.

  6. Beverly Peterson says:

    @Rick- seriously dude? harmful bacteria from corn fed beef? you need to stop talking with your mouth full! If that were true- we’d all be dead by now. Cave men fed their beef corn… its what’s made us smarter, taller, faster and stronger than the apes. No matter what a cow, pig,chicken or other edibles are fed its how you handle the meat that causes all the problems nowadays!

    • Jenny says:

      Its true corn fed beef produces a more virulent form of ecoli versus grass fed beef. Do your research people!

    • Farm mom says:

      Maybe he prefers the steroid and chemically produced beef from foreign countries these people fullishly purchase at Walmart and such. Diseases were not as rampant when people gre, bought and sold locally. 90 % of the time the field corn is grown on the same farm as the beef cattle and most cattle are fed a grazing, corn, or chop mix. My family grows our own produce, berries, some fruit, chickens, eggs, pork, and beef. Our family is large and rarely sick. Buy local, buy safe

      • BeefProcessor says:

        Working at a beef processing facility in Nebraska I can tell you that most if not all Walmart beef is locally raised, not foreign. The facility I work for also owns a ground beef facility which produces patties for ALL fast food restaraunts the only differences between them is the meat recipe which is variations in fat content and cut of meat that the grind is produced from. I.e. ground chuck or ground sirloin. Just look on the package and Google the establishment code.

  7. tom says:

    Rick obviously is a city slicker who has no clue about farming.

  8. Debbie Boughers says:

    I love the new show, “Farm Kings.” It’s refreshing to see this kind of family who work together. My husband is a retired farmer and I’m a nurse who would like to retire when I’m 62. We have started to get cattle back and I would like to grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs to sell along with the baskets I weave. This show gives us insperation to follow our dreams. Please keep it on the air!

  9. Jen says:

    My family and I really enjoy this show, for many reasons. Its a true education on farming, which we are all very ignorant of, but what strikes me most every time is how respectful and loving those boys are to their mother! She and her ex did a lot of right things together-obviously…to have raised these kids to be who they are. I love also that they know how to work HARD and as a team and at the end of the day they share a meal together. I hope tv doesnt change anything for these good people.

  10. Rodney says:

    My wife and I really like the show,we have been inspired and just completed a passive solar greenhouse and hope to grow our own veggies year round,our next project will be canning and raising chickens,We need to take action in these uncertain economic times.Hope your show keeps doing well,I know we will be watching.

  11. big tony martucci says:

    you are there any plans on having some real hot chicks on the show , maybe in them there skimpy bikinis and stuff….eh?

  12. Linda says:

    Just watched a marathon of Farm Kings episodes…5 thru 16…What a fantastic reality series…I live in urban CT and this show certainly feeds my farming fix…Ive told others about it and hopefully it will really catch on across the country…finally a reality series that is educational enlightening and productive as well as entertaining….This show introduced me to the concept of buying forward for my local farmer…big things start small and build and grow strong…thank you Farm Kings for doing something so good for all us Americans….youve given us a wake up call to what is really important. thank you!

  13. Monica says:

    I happend to stumble upon this show flipping through the channels. I have to say…I love it. I am so inspired by the entire family wanting to work together. I google them and ended buying Lisa’s cookbook and I am so excited to get it along with my tshirt. Keep up the great family values we need more shows like this instead of the dysfunctional Kardashian’s!!

    I came to work and told everyone at work to start watching this and they googled as well and got the channel guide!! Keep on Farming!!

  14. Brian says:

    My better half (Doris) has been a fan of the show from its start and we finally made it over to Butler to visit the store yesterday …very impressed, the store was pretty darn busy and there was Tim as we pulled in carrying out a few bags of
    ‘veggies” for a elderly man….It was pretty cool to come into the parking lot and seeing him….being the “stand up kinda guy” i envisioned him being ( from what i have seen or noticed of him on the show ) ….and now there he is….Working HARD AT BUILDING THAT CUSTOMER BASE ….Cudo’s ….Freedom Farms ….That was just so refreshing to see first hand…NO “FRONTS”….NO PHONY B/S…..JUST DAWN TO DUSK HARD WORK THAT SEEMS TO BE PAYING OFF FOR THEM….GREAT JOB GUYS !!! Doris loves her new shirt by the way…FREEDOM FARM ROCKS..!!

  15. tghering says:

    I love this show. This is one great family. I make popcorn every Thursday night and don’t disturb me while I enjoy one of the best reality shows on Tv.

  16. James says:

    I’ve seen several of the episodes. Do the guys have girlfriends? I haven’t seen any of the guys as interested in girls.

  17. Farm mom says:

    Maybe if our society watched more of this, our children would be less influenced by the other shows ot there….tv has become almost embarrassing for a mother to watch with children. This country is loosing its worth ethic ( you are not entitled, you earn it) and morals and the basis of what family and commitment really are. I love this show and know I can watch it with my five kids (15-23) and not be weary of what is said or shown

  18. Zina says:

    I never heard about Freedom Farmers until this past week
    I’m from O C CA, WOW WOW! Loved everything about this family gave me an appreciation for farming. We lose site of this type of living, the hard work and dedication to growing food and the commitment of family. This program needs to be put on main stream tv channels for everyone to enjoy

  19. After m.Cyrus performance this showFarm Kings makes me proud to be an American again. Great show great values. A real must ss tv show.

  20. Hope says:

    This show gives me the warm and fuzzies, for many reasons. I promote it on Facebook and hope that it becomes more mainstream. I love learning about farming, teamwork, family…and you know it doesn’t hurt to watch the King boys.

  21. Joanna says:

    Hi to Joe. I’m from Chico, ca and Oroville is our neighboring town. Cant help but wonder how a girl from Oroville met a farmer from Pa? Would love to have you share your story.,

  22. LP says:

    Hey there, I am an heirloom vegetable farmer and I also breed rare chickens who are pastured on 20 acres non-caged. I would like to thank the Farm Kings for not being another part of the Monsanto propaganda machine that owns our country’s minds. They really are changing things, just by being who they want to be and not selling out to have a factory farm style farm. Also, those are some damn fine looking guys. Pete and Tim are my favorite, because I know we would get along, we are what I like to call “plant people” and only other plant people know what it is like to be this way. Hands full of dirt on every non-snowy day of the year, hands full of seeds on all the others. Have a good one all, and buy seeds from my shop. BTW I had a dream that Tim kissed me, and I liked it.

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