The forecast for noon Wednesday is twelve degrees, with a wind-chill exactly zero. That’s not chilling plans for the annual pork producers cookout at Capital Square in downtown Des Moines, though. Spokeswoman Jan Hoppes says this highlight of the annual winter Pork Congress is too popular to put on ice. Pork producers from all over the state are coming, bearing their grills, and will cook three-thousand ground pork-and-bacon patties. Hoppes concedes many Iowans don’t associate this season with outdoor cooking. She admits it may not be the “ideal” grilling temperature outside, but the farmers are willing, to promote their product. Besides, the free chips will stay fresh, and the ice cream won’t melt. It’s the seventh year of this event during the January convention, and while sometimes it’s a balmy 20 or 30 degrees, Hoppes admits in some winters it’s been like this. Windchills this afternoon are almost up to zero, but Hoppes says Iowa farmers are tough and think plenty of people will brave the cold Wednesday for their tasty free food. The “Winter Pork Picnic” is free, though a donation “tip jar” will collect money for the Food Bank of Iowa.
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