Meet The Ranchers
Meet The Ranchers
As a Massachusetts native and the daughter of an industrialist father and naturalist mother, Susan Bergen never imagined her life path would carry her to Norman, Oklahoma. Then her career as a stock broker brought her to Oklahoma City where she met the cowboy of her dreams in the form of Floyd Bergen.
An entrepreneur himself, Floyd was already well established in business with a number of companies operating under the umbrella of Bergen Enterprises based in Norman. Floyd and Susan recognized in each other the savvy it takes to build both a successful family and a successful corporation. They joined forces in both marriage and business and both have flourished.
Early in marriage, Susan took time to focus on the couples’ children then jumped in to her first formal role with Bergen Enterprises by overseeing a peach orchard they had developed in Stratford. She nurtured the brand Peach Crest Farms, expanding it to encompass a wide range of fruits and vegetables and jarred products which she sold to grocery stores, school districts and other retailers including clients such as Whole Foods, Buy 4 Less, Uptown Grocery, Smart Saver and Crest.
Today, Floyd has retired but Susan continues to forge ahead as a pioneer in many ways. She oversees all the ranching, farming and cattle sectors of business for Bergen enterprises. Her years in the industry have driven her to do things differently. Susan is passionate about clean agriculture using the people, planet, profit model of sustainability in her business. “I want to be a change agent with soil health. I’m passionate about watching soil be restored, while making an impact on lives and providing great food!”
Now Peach Crest is expanding to include prairie raised meats that are raised with kindness to the animals and care for the environment. With this brand expansion and the launch of Peach Crest Ranch, Susan has enlisted the help of her daughter, Norman native Jessica Bergen Elliot.
Jessica was brought up in the Bergen business, selling for years at farmers' markets, but didn’t hold her first formal position with the company until her days in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma. Since beginning as an assistant to her dad’s administrative assistant in 2008, Jessica now has oversight of the family’s restaurant assets in five states, serves as the pace setter for the office staff, manages over 52 rental units near the University and owns with her husband, Robbie, Calypso Cove Marina on Lake Thunderbird. Her resume now includes brand manager of Peach Crest Ranch.
Jessica credits her mom with teaching her the art of negotiating a good deal. But in addition to the fun that comes from succeeding personally in business, the mother-daughter duo see beyond their own interests. “We both believe in employment, and that being a stable, safe employer can have a positive impact on peoples’ lives,” explains Jessica.
The Bergen women are taking their desire to make life better for others into the launch of Peach Crest Ranch. Susan shares, “Peach Crest Ranch is a true trailblazer in innovation and logistics with agriculture products. Being an outsider in the agriculture sector gives me an opportunity to look with fresh eyes on age old processes. Moving the cattle every three days has reinvigorated my soil, allowing ‘weeds’ to tell their story instead of killing them brings the underlying problem to the surface. This also keeps our eyes on our mommas. Old school ranching is hands off, we believe in a constant contact approach. Our animals know us and we know them.”
The result is a product that Susan can be proud of and pays homage to her heritage. “I was raised in Massachusetts outside of Boston by my father, an industrialist, and my mother, a naturalist. The combination of money and planet have brought me to this place.” Susan is proud that her beef is already being served at Vast and is eagerly awaiting the launch of meat sales in area grocery stores this fall.
Even though the assets of Bergen Enterprises are spread around a multi-state region, both Susan and Jessica love maintaining Norman as home base. For Susan, the appeal is found in the business and family values of the city, “Norman leads the state in compost, we have an open acceptance towards forward moving agriculture, and my children can and do live close to me!”
For Jessica and her husband, who are raising their two young children in Norman, it’s all about location, “We love and live the lake life, and love that it's so close to home.” Add to that a vibrant real estate market and the Bergen-Elliots are happy to settle down in Jessica’s hometown. Susan has no complaints as being “Go-Go” to her grandchildren is proving to be her favorite position in Bergen Enterprises.