Stephen Harper had a chance during a campaign stop at a Winnipeg produce terminal on Tuesday to show his seedier side when the Conservative leader was asked what vegetable he would be.

'I have never been asked that question before, and I have a feeling I can't win by answering it.' —Stephen Harper

A local television reporter asked Harper the inevitable question as the prime minister was standing in front of a collection of produce at a truck depot where he was making his fuel tax announcement.

It provided a brief period of levity for reporters covering the campaign of Harper, who is known in Ottawa for drawing laughs with his impression of Liberal finance critic John McCallum.

In a rarely seen moment, Harper was temporarily at a loss for words.

"I have never been asked that question before, and I have a feeling I can't win by answering it," he said.

Harper turned to ponder his options amid the backdrop of produce stacked behind him, scanning the boxes of cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes, then opted to amend the scope of the question with his reply.  

"I would choose, if I had to, instead to be a fruit," Harper said with a cheeky smile, drawing laughter from the audience. "Just what I am — sweet and colourful."

Harper's communications staff later noted they'd failed to brief him on the vegetable question ahead of time, but enjoyed his answer nonetheless, the CBC's Paul Hunter reported from the event.

With files from Paul Hunter