Bergey's Breadbasket has been a longstanding family tradition and a crown jewel of the Chesapeake community for over 75 years.
The Bergey family has been providing the Greater Tidewater Area with fresh food for over 75 years. Clayton Bergey and his wife, Amanda, with their four young sons moved from Bucks County Pennsylvania in 1910 using a horse drawn covered wagon. Clayton began farming a small plot of land in what is now Chesapeake, Virginia.
From the beginning there was focus on marketing products directly from the farm to the consumer. You could say that we were “fresh and local” before there was anything besides “fresh and local”. Clayton marketed meat and dairy products at the downtown Norfolk market with the milk in 10 gallon cans and the meat freshly prepared on the farm.
In 1930, Clayton’s son Titus had a coveted job in the Ford Assembly plant in Norfolk, but starting a farm to raise and support his family was more important than the sought-after job at Ford. So in the middle of the Great Depression, Titus quit that job, combined his father’s and father-in-law’s small farms and began to develop Bergey’s Dairy Farm.
The operation expanded and before long the Bergey’s were milking 25 cows and Titus began a door to door delivery service for the farm fresh milk and milk products. In the 60’s, many customers began to come to the farm to purchase their milk, so Titus began to sell bottled milk to customers directly from the “cold room”.
In 1961, Titus’s son James Harold took over the operation and began an expansion that would continue over the next 30 years. James Harold and Mary Jane had seven children, and through the years each child has been involved in the business in some form.
During this time the processing plant expanded and the retail operation moved from home delivery only to also include three stores and a bakery. The first store was opened on the farm property in 1978 and a premium ice cream recipe was developed with the help of VA Tech. A second location was opened in VA Beach at the Farmers Market in 1985. A third location complete with a bakery was opened in Great Bridge in 1988.
Throughout the mid 80’s to the late 90’s the operation continued to expand but also continued to change in its management structure. Finally in 2005 the dairy operation was sold and the stores were closed. The family property was in danger of complete liquidation. Four of James and Mary’s children thought that the property should be preserved. In 2006 Bergey’s Breadbasket was opened using recipes and techniques that had been passed down for generations.