Hilary Walentuk MS, RD, LDN

A “whey” cool day on the farm with Whitin Elementary and New England Patriots’ Derek Rivers

What happens when you combine a group of Fuel Up to Play 60 student leaders, a dairy farmer and a New England Patriots player? You wind up with an amazing day!

This fall, Whitin Elementary School of Uxbridge, MA was awarded a field trip to Whittier Farms in Sutton with an NFL player after winning the Fuel Up to Play 60 Back to School Challenge. To enter the Back to School Challenge, Whitin organized a Farm-to-School activity in which students participated in a virtual dairy farm tour and sampled a variety of dairy foods.

Derek Rivers of the New England Patriots joined the students as they learned about dairy farming from 5th generation dairy farmer, Sam Whittier. While the students and Derek toured the dairy barns, they learned about the cows’ day-to-day activities, which includes milking twice a day and plenty of eating and resting in between. Sam also discussed the importance of supporting the health of the cows by providing them with a safe and comfortable living environment.

She answered questions from Derek and the students on topics of cow diets and calf care and shared some funny stories about cow personalities and what happens when a group of cows learn how to open a gate (don’t worry, they didn’t roam far!).

5th generation dairy farmer, Sam Whittier

Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor and Whitin Physical Education and Health Teacher Bonnie Dimmick shared that the tour will have a lasting impact on the student’s perspective on dairy farming and how the cows are cared for. One student even told her that it was the best day of his life!


Like any great day on the farm, the tour ended with cookies and a milk toast!

A big thanks to Whittier Farms and Derek Rivers for supporting Fuel Up to Play 60 and making this an unforgettable day for these student leaders!

Want to learn more about New England dairy farming? Visit Must Be The Milk for the facts!

Hilary Walentuk MS, RD, LDN

Hilary is a registered dietitian and Nutrition Specialist for New England Dairy & Food Council. She works with schools in Central and Southeastern Massachusetts to implement Fuel Up to Play 60, the Dairy Council’s in-school healthy eating and physical activity program. In her free time, Hilary can often be found on the hiking trails. When not on the trails, Hilary is usually in the kitchen experimenting with recipes, often involving dairy! Sound like someone you want to get to know? Contact Hilary at hwalentuk@newenglanddairy.com.