(Feb. 24, 11:40 a.m.) The Vidalia Onion Committee awarded its Grower of the Year and inducted three into its Hall of Fame.

The Vidalia, Ga.-based committee’s 2008 Grower of the Year is Bo Herndon, owner of Lyons-based Herndon Farms. Herndon was chair of the Vidalia Onion Committee for four years.

Mose Coleman Sr. and Earlie Jordan were inducted into the Hall of Fame for being pioneers of onion growing in Georgia. Coleman is one of — if not the — first onion growers in the region. He started in the 1930s, when growers in the Vidalia region were looking for new sources of income during and after the Great Depression. Jordan came in later, in the 1940s, and brought plants from Texas to grow and sell. He also was one of the first to form marketing partnerships to promote onions, according to the release.

Doyle Smittle, a retired horticulture professor from the University of Georgia, was also inducted. Smittle studied atmospheric levels required to preserve Vidalia onions, and perfected those levels in 1990. Smittle’s controlled atmosphere storage is still used today, according to the release stated.

The awards were announced during the committee’s annual banquet on Feb. 7.

Vidalia Onion Committee honors four at banquet
Vidalia Onion Committee executive director Wendy Brannen (center), with Marion Jordan (left) and Angus Jordan, the sons of the late Earlie Jordan, one of three inductees into the committee's Hall of Fame. At the committee’s annual banquet on Feb. 7, the Jordan sons accepted the posthumous award on behalf of their father.

Courtesy Vidalia Onion Committee