Venditti chosen as state’s 2022 Beekeeper of the Year
IRON MOUNTAIN — A local man has been named Beekeeper of the Year 2022 by the Michigan Beekeepers Association.
Gino Venditti received the award in November in a ceremony at the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain, with other members of the Northwoods Beekeepers present to congratulate him on the designation.
“I’m naturally quite flattered and honored to receive a state award in our little town,” Venditti said, adding he is grateful for the support he has received from the group and community.
Venditti began beekeeping in 2016, mentored by Mike Holmes. He manages about 55 hives at STAG — which stands for “sweet, tasty and good” — Farms. The honey, including flavors such as habanero and fire, is sold at the local farmers market and via mail order.
His bees had an “exceptional year” in 2022, producing 3,100 pounds of honey, Venditti said.
“It was kind of a surprise to receive this award after only a few years” in the business, Venditti said. He noted that being chosen from the Upper Peninsula was unusual as well, since lower Michigan has far more beekeepers.
He has been involved in Northwoods Beekeepers since its start in 2016, serving on the club’s steering committee.
An essential task of a beekeeping club is to provide opportunities to participate in the normal activities of a beekeeper. Venditti invites Northwoods Beekeepers to his apiary every year for package installation, hive inspections and honey harvest, said Claude Siders of Northwoods Beekeepers.
“Gino educates our community about beekeeping,” Siders said. “He is a familiar face at the local farmers market. He works at our club booth at the Dickinson County Fair. He teaches beekeeping basics in high school classrooms and at the club’s annual beginning beekeeper class. He enters into long-term mentorships with new beekeepers. He skillfully leads the Q-and-A segment of our monthly club meetings.”
Venditti shares the Beekeeper of the Year 2022 award with one other person who is downstate.
The Michigan Beekeepers Association has about 660 paying members plus affiliated groups like the Northwoods Beekeepers.