- Ree Drummond is a famous blogger and star of Food Network's "The Pioneer Woman."
- Drummond rose to fame blogging about life on her husband's ranch.
- The star's future plans are much bigger than cooking comfort food.
Ree Drummond is one of the biggest personalities in food media in 2017.
"The Pioneer Woman" is a People magazine cover star. She has a Food Network show, has published seven books, and founded a magazine. And, as of this week, her family is the 23rd largest landowner in the US.
It's been a winding path that brought "The Pioneer Woman" to fame — and it's not over yet. While Drummond made her name cooking up comfort food, her future plans are much bigger than a blog and Food Network TV show.
Here's how Ree Drummond became "The Pioneer Woman," and what she's doing next.
Drummond was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, an affluent suburb, but moved to Los Angeles to study broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California.
However, her plan to stick to city living fell apart when she met rugged rancher Ladd Drummond, who she calls "Marlboro Man" in her blog.
The couple's love for each other has been a constant on "The Pioneer Woman" since the blog's early days — and any photo of the Marlboro Man is sure to provoke comments of "lucky woman" and heart emojis on social media.
In fact, Lad was no simple cow poke. The Drummond family is the 23rd largest landholder in the US with 433,000 acres — roughly half the size of the state of Rhode Island. The US government has paid the Drummonds $24 million in rent over the past decade.
In 1995, Drummond married Ladd and moved out to the ranch. It was a rough transition — and one that wasn't helped by the fact that Drummond got pregnant on her honeymoon, and then had three more babies in the next seven years.
Drummond started "The Pioneer Woman" blog in 2006, 11 years after she moved out to the country.
In early posts, she wasn't aiming to reach many people — just keep her mom updated on the Drummond kids' lives. Her relaxed updates about day-to-day life read like Drummond is telling a story to a new friend, and she quickly amassed loyal followers.
As time went on, Drummond began to shift into more food photos and recipes — in part because that's what her readers loved.
Drummond specializes in unfussy comfort food, with dishes that are aimed at feeding a family.
Soon, The Pioneer Woman was one of the most popular blogs on the internet, winning for Best Photography and Best-Designed Weblog at the 2009 Bloggies.
Drummond has long been known as a savvy businesswoman, telling the New Yorker in 2011 that her blog was a "thriving business."
In 2011, her show "The Pioneer Woman" debuted on the Food Network.
She's written seven books and launched "The Pioneer Woman Magazine" in 2017.
However, Drummonds' aspirations go beyond food media.
Drummond and Ladd opened "The Mercantille" in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in 2016. "The Merc," as it is often called by Drummond and her fans, is a triple threat: bakery, deli, and general store.
Up to 15,000 customers flock to Pawhuska every day to visit the site, waiting in line for hours, with some arriving as early as 5 a.m. to get into the restaurant.
Helping revitalize Pawhuska seems to be a new project for the Drummonds.
This summer, the lodge by Drummond Ranch began offering free tours on select days.
The Drummonds are currently in the process of renovating a building to open as an 8-room "boarding house" hotel.
The Drummonds have also purchased another building next door, for a mysterious separate purpose.
The Drummonds' efforts are apparently helping Pawhuska as a whole. According to Thrillist, nearly a dozen new business have opened over the past year or so, and the town's sales-tax revenue has risen 33% across all businesses.