Feeling Saucy

Student activity based on the story “Feeling Saucy ” from the July/August 2009 Our Ohio magazine.


Academic Content Standard
(Family and Consumer Sciences: High School) Ensuring Food Safety: Use critical thinking and reasoning to engage available resources and ensure an adequate, secure food supply. Students will examine how individuals and government agencies regulate food safety to protect citizens considering: Food traceability, food supply security, and imported and exported food safety; Community and household methods to protect and cope with bio-terrorism; Food cultivation, processing, packaging and labeling.

(Note: Key terms used from Ohio’s Academic Content Standards are in bold below).

Discussion points

  • Read the article with the students or to the students Read the article titled “Feeling Saucy” in Our Ohio magazine or on-line.
  1. When you think of tomato sauce, what country or state do you think of?
  2. What brand of tomatoes does Steve Hirzel’s family produce?
  3. What are the advantages, economic and food safety concerns, for buying foods produced locally?
  4. According to the article, what is the major advantage of the Northwest Ohio produced tomatoes?
  5. Is it important toyou to know where and how your food was produced and transported?
  6. Is the risk of food safety minimized when the food company, like Dei Fratelli, germinates, grows, harvests and processes its own product?
  7. Does Steve Hirzel believe that knowing food cultivation, processing and packaging locations eases the mind of the consumer?
  8. Define: Germinate, Food traceability, Food supply security, Bio-terrorism, Regulation
  9. What technologies does the Dei Fratelli company use to manage food security?
  10. What are the three positive geography features that help in tomato production?
  11. Research and development are important for food safety concerns in food processing. How has the Ohio State University helped in this area?
  12. How does Ohio rank nationally with regard to processing tomatoes? Fresh tomatoes?
  13. Ohio’s state fruit is what? Ohio’s state beverage is what?
  14. Hirzel’s family has been producing tomato products since 1923. Does experience and relationship increase a consumer’s perception of the safety of their food?
  15. Hirzel states that three agendas help consumers feel confident about the quality of their food and how their food is ethically produced. What are these agendas?
  16. “Transparent” is a word used by Hirzel to describe his company. What does that word mean to the consumer?
  17. Hirzel notes one more environmental aspect of his company’s efforts at the end of the article. What is it?

Hands on at Home or School

  1. Visit and explore the Dei Fratelli Web Site! www.deifratelli.com
  2. Conduct a taste test.
  3. Choose three brands (make sure one is Dei Fratelli) of diced tomatoes from the grocery. Taste test the three brands.
  4. What color are they, how do they smell, how do they taste, what was the cost, where were they grown?
  5. Which is your favorite?
  6. Where do the fresh tomatoes in your grocery store originate? Would you rather buy locally grown tomatoes?
  7. What ways are tomatoes preserved for canning?
  8. What does the grocery do to ensure food safety?
  9. What do you do at home to ensure food safety?
  10. Does the government play a role in ensuring a safe food supply?
  11. What Ohio government agencies are responsible for food safety?
  12. Ohio Department of Agriculture?
  13. Ohio Department of Health?
  14. What media do you trust when you are seeking information about food safety?


  1. Geography: Map Use: Locate Toledo (Headquarters of Dei Fratelli) on an Ohio map. http://www.censusfinder.com/mapoh.htm
  2. Locate Hirzel Canning Companies and Farms at:
  • Pemberville, OH
  • Ottawa, OH
  • Luckey, OH
  1. Family and Consumer Sciences: Nutrition: What nutrients do you find in the tomato? Why is it good for you?
  2. Government:Give an example of bio-terrorism.
  3. What are the major food safety issues with regard to our food supply?
  4. History: What are the official symbols of Ohio? Check them out here: www.netstate.com/states/symb/oh_symb.htm
  5. The Ohio Historical Society states that the tomato was originally thought to be poisonous. Where did tomatoes originate? Are they native to Ohio?

Student activities are prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City. She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.