Farm Kings on the Great American Channel? I stumbled across it this winter and have been watching it ever since.
"“The oldest three boys—Joey, Timothy and Peter—own Freedom Farms,” their mother Lisa says in a premiere episode. “It’s their business. But we all still work as a team.”
That team includes nine brothers (Joe, Daniel, Pete, Luke, Sam, John, Paul, Timothy and Ben) and one sister (Elizabeth), ages 29 to 12, along with their mother … but, not their father.
“Ten kids and your parents get a divorce. It can make it tough,” oldest son Joe said in the film. “We had to move on from my dad after five to 10 years of failed attempts to try to do something together."
“We needed to start fresh and earn our own way. So now my dad is my competitor.”
The show reminds me of my introduction to the Warren County Fruit and Vegetable Association when I became their Agricultural Extension Agent in 1987. Since I understood raising and marketing produce from my youth, we got along together very well.
Produce and orchard farmers are very entrepreneurial and independent people. They usually farm near large population centers like Cincinnati and Dayton. The Kings are located in Butler County Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh.
I was hoping to stop by and meet them this summer as I have had consulting work in Pa the last seven years. This year that fell through and we really don't miss the trip but I would have liked to have met the Kings.
Running a farm and dealing with the public all day is too much exposure for most farmers. Most farmers are happy to be alone in a tractor or combine. That doesn't happen on a produce farm or orchard. It's a lot more hand work and the market is usually your back door. Today it includes memberships to buy your produce and farmer's markets nearby.
I admire these people because it takes a special desire and blend of talents to make a living doing it. I like fresh food and I like to know where and how it was grown. If I don't raise it myself, I like to buy local.
The King's do that and more. Hat's off to you produce and fruit growers, I love your products and admire your talent.