Bee Fruitful Farms is owned and operated by the Draper Family. Lee and Sue Draper moved to Scotts Valley, California in 1976 where they raised two children: Kelsey and Matt, and enjoyed more than 30 years of success as a prominent real estate team.
Although their trade was real estate, Lee and Sue’s true passions were family, friends and nature. When Lee was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 the pair purchased a wildly, overgrown 6+ acre property on Bean Creek just outside the Scotts Valley City limits. For the next several years the pair worked tirelessly to restore the property to its natural beauty. By the time of Lee’s passing in 2009 he had completed his masterpiece – the stunning setting that is now home to Bee Fruitful Farms (BFF).
Shortly after Lee’s passing Sue attended the Oprah Winfrey Show where she was the lucky winner of a $25,000 Publisher’s Clearing House prize live on the air. Convinced that there was a higher purpose for prize money, Sue spent years dreaming with her family. . . What seeds could they sow with this gift?
The answer that arose was BFF – an educational resource for the community of Scotts Valley where families can learn about sustainable agriculture, wholesome food, and one another.
Sue still lives and works in Scotts Valley, continuing her success in real estate with her son Matt now at her side. She is an avid gardener, an amazing gluten-free cook, and wanna-bee beekeeper. She is the Yoda of Bee Fruitful Farms – our master and spiritual leader (and not just because she owns the property).
Matt Draper is not only Sue’s son and half of their very successful real estate team; he is her partner in BFF as well. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Agricultural Business in 2002, Matt has tried on many professional hats. Before real estate he worked in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and health care industries in both lending and finance sectors. Through Matt’s varied professional endeavors he has never lost sight of his true passions – local, sustainable agriculture and his community. Matt is a natural engineer and he would tell you how much he loves designing and implementing infrastructure projects around the farm but the real reason he does this is so he can drive the tractor.
Mandy Draper is Matt’s wife and the mother of their two children: Danica (2) and Caroline (3 weeks). Mandy graduated from San Jose State University in 2009 with a degree in Civil Engineering. She currently works in Santa Cruz as a staff engineer for Dees and Associates Geotechnical Engineers. Mandy’s curious and inquisitive nature (and voracious appetite for books) means that she is constantly acquiring new gardening, cooking, and homesteading skills. Look for Mandy at BFF farm classes – coming in 2015 – she will probably be sitting in the front asking a lot of questions.
Kelsey Draper-Phillips lives in Scotts Valley with her husband, Jeremy Phillips, a local electrician and their two children: Kadelynn (9) and Jamison (7). Kelsey graduated from Sonoma State University in 2000 with a degree in Business Administration. She currently works as a project manager for Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Kelsey is the like the team’s utility infielder, the woman can do anything. On top of that she is outrageously creative and has the most genuine, warm spirit.
Now you ask, who is doing the day-to-day dirty work? Who is the f-a-r-m-e-r? Very good question. . .
To allow BFF to focus on education and community outreach, the Drapers have teamed up with Thomas Herzog of Stone Meal Farm. If you would like more info about our head farmer Thomas, check out his website http://www.stonemealfarm.com/