Along the Garden Path: Pioneer Woman – “The Merc”


Pawhuska is a city in and the county seat of Osage County, Oklahoma, United States with population of 3,584. It was named after the 19th-century Osage chief, Paw-Hiu-Skah, which means “White Hair” in English.

The Drummond Family Ranch is the second largest ranch in Oklahoma with Fred A. Drummond, considered by family members, to be the patriarch of that institution and has made his fortune in the cattle business. Darke County, Ohio is comprised of 384,243 acres and the Drummond Ranch in Oklahoma is 433,000 acres. This ranch is in the third generation and the original land was purchased for 75 cents an acre from the Osage Indian tribe.

Fred’s son Ladd Drummond married Ann Marie Smith (known as Ree) who is The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. She is a blogger, author, food writer, photographer, wife, full time Mother of 4 and a television personality.

Her cooking shows are fascinating in that she makes simple, tasty dishes with ingredients you almost always have on hand in the kitchen, plus they look great!

Ladd and Ree purchased a 1910 building to benefit Pawhuska. She kept fans updated on the refurbishment and has opened a deli in the small town. The structure is located on Kihekah Avenue and they named it “The Mercantile” or as she sometimes refers to it, “The Merc”.

They have created a shopping experience that hints to an earlier time in small town America. From work gloves to tees, ramekins to skillets; The Merc offers a little something for everyone. If you love the Pioneer Woman and her recipes you would love this shop. They offer bright colored dishes, kitchen gadgets, cowboy/girl nic-nacs, fabric, clothes and of course her cookbooks and children books.

Just last week Donn and I visited Pawhuska and experienced firsthand her amazing restaurant and fabulous desserts. The first floor houses the Merc and restaurant while

the second floor houses her wonderful bakery. The whole experience was fabulous. We stood in line for 2 hours to get into the restaurant for lunch; was it worth it – you bet!

We stayed in Bartlesville and so on the way back we came upon the Evans Nursery. (I’m known to have a radar signal for good garden centers). We were curious if they grow the same plant varieties in Oklahoma as we do in Ohio. We were talking to this young man and he asked what brought us from Ohio to Bartlesville. We told him we came to visit the Merc and how pleased we were. As fate would have it, he has done all of Ree’s planting of containers, landscaping (at the Merc and on the ranch) for fifteen years.

Our trip to Oklahoma was pretty with brilliant redbud trees at their peak, the chartreuse colors of new spring foliage and for the most part, good weather. We were able to take in several shows at Branson on the way home so another trip off of our Bucket List!

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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