by Brian Clarey

I’ve been saying this for years: It is not necessary to cook pork until it’s as tough as a catcher’s mitt, particularly a nice chop or piece of heirloom tenderloin. I finally get some backing from the USDA, which now says pork can be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, 15 degrees cooler than previously suggested, allowing for a pale pink center.

And the Food Network has released a list of top dessert trends for the coming season. Among the trends listed are protein-based, raw-food and whole-grain desserts, floral flavors, casual presentations, the inclusion of savory or spicy flavors and the end of sharing desserts.

High Point’s Wesleyan Christian Academy has two winners in the Harris Teeter Sing My Jingle Contest, with cash prizes totaling $5,000.

And all weekend long, the annual craft fair runs at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market.

The big culinary events this week all seem to be culminating on Saturday.

Salute! The NC Wine Festival actually begins on Thursday, with winemaker dinners at some of Winston-Salem’s best restaurants: Mozelle’s Southern Bistro, Noma Urban Bar & Grill, Bib’s Downtown, Christopher’s and Meridian. Dinners begin at 7 p.m., and reservations or menu descriptions can be found on the website at Then the event itself takes place on 4 th Street from noon-6 p.m. The after party goes down at Foothill’s Brewing with Corey Chisel & the Wandering Sons. See the site for more details/ Also on Saturday, the Grove Winery holds a horse-trail wine lunch. Details are thin on the website, www.grovewinery com, but call 336.584.4060 and I’m sure someone can fill you in.

Also on Saturday, Whole Foods Market in Winston-Salem holds Localpalooza, celebrating local ingredients and cuisine, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The event is billed as free and family friendly, with farmers, facepainters and live music from Lean In.

And Tuesday’s Cobblestone Farmers Market has beets as its featured product, with a cooking demo from New Town Bistro, a book signing by Diane Daniel, author of Farm Fresh North Carolina, and Chicago blues from Dell Guthrie.