On a spring day in 1916, Dallas Foster was born on a farm in rural Indiana. The oldest child of five, he was accustomed to taking care of others from a young age. His earliest job on the farm was plowing the fields with a team of horses. To make extra money, he used to tap trees for maple syrup. It took 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup! It’s not hard to imagine why Dallas turned his efforts towards honey bees as an adult.
Although Dallas’ father had honey bees, he only used them to harvest honey for his family. Dallas saw a great opportunity and was the first to sell his honey to the local community. He came to truly love his honey bees and his passion spread to his own children. In fact, he wouldn’t even let them kill a single bee if it got into the house. They had to scramble about trying to herd it towards the window, with varied results.
Dallas’ youngest son of nine children, Ken Foster, followed in his footsteps and started keeping bees when he was in high school. He caught swarms of bees with a wooden box full of honeycombs. Luckily when they’re swarming, bees rarely sting. After college, Ken joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Central America where he worked on beekeeping projects with local communities. When Ken’s dad Dallas was 88, he decided it was time to retire from the beekeeping business and that’s when Ken decided to launch Wildcat Creek Apiary.
Named after a stream running past Ken’s farm, Wildcat Creek gets its name from the abundance of bobcats that once lived in the valley. Ken’s two sons and daughter grew up on this farm and helped out with beekeeping from as early as they could remember. To this day, all three continue helping out when they’re home – in particular, his youngest, Jon.
Today, Wildcat Creek Apiary has grown and provides local honey and pollinator education to customers in north and central Indiana.