When someone asks me to pick my favorite of anything, such as my favorite food or sports team, that particular individual usually regrets asking me the question within a few seconds because I cannot just give a simple, short response with my answer.

Instead, I launch into a mini conversation, asking the person whether they meant my favorite snack food, dinner food or what the perfect dessert is.

I realize it’s probably a bit more – OK, way more — information than the question warranted, but I have found over the years that I either love something and it gets added to my favorite list or I don’t.

Midsummer to early fall is one of my favorite times of the year because of all the fresh and local produce that is available from farmers and gardeners in the area, who set up roadside markets or stands.

If I had no choice but to pick a favorite food item, I would pick a tomato because I love the taste of a big, juicy red tomato, especially when it has just been picked from the field that day.

One of the great benefits of stopping at a local produce stand or visiting a farmers market is that the producer usually is on hand to answer any questions an individual may have about the vegetable or fruit the consumer is looking at before they purchase it, such as: What variety is it? Where is it grown? And when was it harvested?

At the beginning of the summer, I really was hankering for some tomato slices, so when I was at the grocery store one day, I bought a few and cut them up for dinner. While they were tasty, I was disappointed in the fact that they were too crunchy and were nowhere near as juicy as I was hoping.

Luckily, a few weeks later, my mom stopped at a produce stand in Greenwood that has been around for several years and picked up some of the most delicious and juiciest tomatoes I have ever tasted. The first bite of that tomato reminded me of how lucky I am to be able to buy produce locally for myself, as well as for my family.

The next time you find yourself enjoying a delectable ear of corn or a giant zucchini you purchased from a farm stand, take a moment to think of all the hard work the producer put in to making your tasty, safe and nutritious dinner possible.