August 30, 2013 at 1:00 am

Let's Talk Food (& maybe win a cookbook): What are your favorite produce places?

Tell us about your favorite produce place for a chance at a free copy of 'Fine Cooking Cook Fresh,' featuring 150 recipes 'for cooking and eating fresh year-round.' (Taunton Press, Incorporated)

Although I really get into planning our meals and grocery lists, I don’t so much love the actual process of shopping; I adore my husband for taking on the lion’s share of getting it done, and my poor co-workers hear me field his phoned-in questions every week as he patiently works his way through the list I send him.

But I also can be picky about preferences, and I realized when I wrote the Let’s Talk Food on my go-to lemon/ginger/cucumber/mint drink that my preferences outweigh my distaste for running around. I’ve toyed with where to get what as I’ve enjoyed this drink all summer and come up with some favorites:

Randazzo’s is my go-to for cheap produce, so it gets my cucumber and lemon dollars.

■ I get Gourmet Ginger Paste from Kroger, where you can find it in the chilled produce section in a tube.

■ I tend to make a quick whip by Westborn for my mint; it’s more expensive ($2.49 last week over Kroger’s $1.99) but I’ve found theirs in better shape and worth the cost and hassle of an extra stop. (Meijer is a little farther away for me, so I go there less frequently, but if it’s your go-to shopping stop, check out theirs; I found it there recently in good shape and the price winner at $1.69.)

■ I’m hoping, though, this will be my last year for special-stop mint; earlier this summer, I picked up a mint plant at Eastern Market. I planted it in the ground beside my side door in hopes it will spread like crazy next year and provide not just easy access to the leaves but, as my Twitter friend LauraHansleyMSK (?@LauraHansley) has, a “minty breeze” right when I walk outside. Looking forward to that!

When I started talking with my friend Dawn about this, I realized people definitely develop favorites for produce. Dawn — as I wrote in Wednesday’s Let’s Talk Food on unusual (potato!) tacos , a huge lover of seasonal, local produce — is definitely sweet on the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, as well as People’s Food Co-Op and Whole Foods. She also shops at The Produce Station, which she says brings in lots of Michigan summer produce. Next time I’m in Ann Arbor, I hope to check those out; I enjoy the Station’s terrific tips and pokes about seasonal produce on Twitter (@producestation).

I’d love to hear about your favorites, and offer you a shot at a free cookbook, “Fine Cooking: Cook Fresh — 150 Recipes for Cooking and Eating Fresh Year-Round.” Let us know about your go-to produce place(s) and what you like about it or them in the comments below, then send an email to Eats& with “Produce/Cook Fresh” in the subject line and your name and mailing address in the body. Enter only once by midnight Sept. 5. A winner will be chosen from among entries, with preference given to those who comment below. (If it’s Sept. 6, 2013 or later when you read this, the book will have been given away — but feel free to add your comments.)

You need a Facebook account to add comments, but they’re free and easy to sign up for, which is how I managed to have one for years and ignore it except for this sort of thing. I’ll be keeping an eye out the next few days for your comments. You also can follow me on Twitter @reentiz. Join the discussion!