My trip to The Pioneer Woman’s ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
When Land O’Lakes – the cooperative we market our farm’s milk through – asked me a couple years ago to be a guest contributor to their cooking and baking blog, I had no idea that saying yes would lead to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, visiting our dairy farm last summer or me visiting her ranch last month. Both visits were amazing and I am incredibly grateful for both opportunities.
(The stories, photos, and recipes from the visit last summer are here, here, and here.)
My visit to Pawhuska included a tour of the Drummond family’s ranch, a chance to hang out with my blogging friends, a recipe showcase, and butter tasting.
After flying to Tulsa, we drove north to the Drummond family’s ranch. We arrived at The Lodge, which was where we stayed for our visit, in the early evening. (By we, I mean me, the other bloggers, and the ladies from Land O’Lakes.)
The Lodge was beautiful. I loved the open space and the view. The Lodge is built on the side of a steep hill, so we could see for miles, looking out over the pastures.
And the kitchen! The Lodge is where Ree films her Food Network show, so it was really cool to see her kitchen in person. One of my favorite parts of the kitchen was how dishes were used as accent pieces to add little pops of color here and there. (I did something similar when I redecorated my kitchen and I am in love with the effect.)
The Lodge is also where we enjoyed most of our meals, which featured all of the recipes developed by the bloggers. Sampling everyone’s creations is definitely one of the highlights for me. The other cool part is getting to see that my recipe turned out for another cook. I always wonder about that when I share recipes…if my directions and methods will be successful for others. Links to all of the recipes are included in this post.
Part of our tour of the ranch included a trip into Pawhuska to see The Building, which is what the Drummonds’ affectionately call the old main street hotel that they are remodeling into a mercantile, deli, event, and office space.
I’ve been trying to follow The Building’s progress on Ree’s blog. It was really cool to see all of their plans and what they have already accomplished with the project. The wall below is the old mural they restored.
Here, again, Ree’s books – including her cookbooks and her children’s books – were used to add a splash of color to Ree’s half of the office area. I really like it when design and function work together.
While we were at The Building we got to reconnect with our inner artists. Ree organized a scone idea contest in which we were asked to illustrate a scone idea using colored paper, crayons, scissors, etc. The winning scone idea would then be featured in The Building’s deli once it opens. I’m happy to say that the winning idea – a rhubarb lemon scone – came from my fellow Minnesotan, Brenda from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles. My idea was the oatmeal-blueberry-dark chocolate scone with vanilla cream icing; it’s a flavor combination I’m sort of crazy about right now.
After the visit to The Building and lunch, we got to have some fun in The Lodge’s kitchen. With bread, Land O’Lakes spreadable butters, and an incredible assortment of toppings, we were each asked to create our own gourmet toast. Apparently, gourmet toast is one of the hottest new culinary trends. That was news to me, but not a surprise – toast with buttter is one of my kids’ favorites, with any meal.
With my kids and Glen in mind, I set out to create a gourmet toast that I would be likely to recreate at home. I topped my whole wheat toast first with Land O’Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil, then a slice of provolone cheese. On top of the cheese, I spread a layer of Land O’Lakes® Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread, topped with thinly sliced apples and ham. Then I added sprinkles of chopped pecans and cinnamon.
Once everyone else had created their gourmet toasts, we set them out for judging. Awards were given to best savory toast, best sweet toast, best presentation, and most creative. My toast wasn’t one of the winners, but we got to eat our toast creations after the judging and mine sure was delicious!
The fun didn’t stop with the toast. Next up was a picnic on a ridge in one of the Drummonds’ pastures. The view was amazing and it was nice to just relax and chat for a while. The picnic also included two surprises.
Land O’Lakes introduced their new European Style Super Premium Butter – and we got to taste it! I didn’t think there would be much of a difference between regular butter, which is made with 80% milkfat, and the European-style butter, which is made with 82% milkfat, but there was a big difference! The premium butter was so smooth and rich. Plus, unlike most European butters, which are made with sour cream, Land O’Lakes’s European butter is made with sweet cream, so it has a great, buttery taste. I am definitely looking forward to experimenting with this new butter in some of my favorite recipes.
The other surprise at the picnic came from Ree. When the picnic was just about over, Ree asked us all over to her vehicle, saying she had a little gift for us. Ree has a great sense of humor, so I honestly thought we were in for a joke of some sort. It was no joke, though. Ree opened up the back of her vehicle and inside was a gorgeous, hand-picked pair of cowgirl boots for each of us.
Talk about being wowed. My own real cowgirl boots! I had borrowed my cousin’s cowgirl boots for the trip to Ree’s ranch, because I didn’t have any of my own. That was after my sister had made it very clear that I needed to wear real boots if I was going to a real ranch.
Everyone else was amazed by the boots, too. We had to do a little boots photo shoot.
Together with the yellow rain boots we donned for our tour of the Drummonds’ ranch, my visit to Oklahoma was quite the footwear affair.
For me, learning about the ins and outs of ranching was another highlight of the trip. It’s always incredibly interesting to learn about other farmers’ ways of doing things.
There were a number of pastures filled with cow-calf pairs, bulls, yearlings, and horses.
I loved all the oil pipe corrals, made from Oklahoma’s oil industry leftovers. And the barbed wire fences were strung so tight you could have plucked them like a guitar.
What was really cool, though, were all the cattle crossings. The crossings, which they use instead of gates, were everywhere. They reminded me of all the horse and ranching books I pored through when I was in middle school.
And, on our last morning at the ranch, we even got to meet Walter, Charlie, and the rest of the ranch dogs. No farm (or ranch) is complete without a dog or two.
As I said before, I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to visit Ree’s ranch. I tried to share as much of the experience as I could in these pictures. I’m sharing a little more of the experience with a giveway. Check out the giveaway post for a chance to win autographed copies of all three of Ree’s cookbooks and $100 of Land O’Lakes® butter, including the new European Style Super Premium Butter.
I am a Land O'Lakes Cooperative member-owner. This trip to Ree’s ranch was sponsored by Land O’Lakes, however, I was not required to write this post. The giveaway mentioned is also sponsored in part by Land O’Lakes. As always, all opinions are my own.