Cohasset Author Susan Playfair to talk about her newest book: American’s Founding Fruit


Cohasset’s Susan Playfair – author of America’s Founding Fruit: The Cranberry in a New Environment

The cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, is one of only three cultivated fruits native to North America. The story of this perennial vine began as the glaciers retreated about fifteen thousand years ago. Centuries later, it kept Native Americans and Pilgrims alive through the winter months, played a role in a diplomatic gesture to King Charles in 1677, protected sailors on board whaling ships from scurvy, fed General Grant’s men in 1864, and provided over a million pounds of sustenance per year to our World War II doughboys. Today, it is a powerful tool in the fight against various forms of cancer, blood pressure and more. This is America’s superfruit.

This book poses the question of how the cranberry, and by inference other fruits, will fare in a warming climate. In her attempt to evaluate the effects of climate change, Susan Playfair interviewed growers from Massachusetts west to Oregon and from New Jersey north to Wisconsin, the cranberry’s temperature tolerance range. Playfair also spoke with scientists studying the health benefits of cranberries, plant geneticists mapping the cranberry genome, a plant biologist who provided her with the first regression analysis of cranberry flowering times, and a migrant beekeeper trying to figure out why the bees are dying.

Taking a broader view than the other books on cranberries, America’s Founding Fruit presents a brief history of cranberry cultivation and its role in our national history, leads the reader through the entire cultivation process from planting through distribution, and assesses the possible effects of climate change on the cranberry and other plants and animals. Could the American cranberry cease growing in the United States? If so, what would be lost?

\Fall 2014 Appearances, Talks and Presentations:

October 11, Nantucket Cranberry Festival, Windswept, 10-5 pm

October 18, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, 2:30 pm

October 20, Arnold Arboretum, Boston, 8 pm

November 1, Eight Cousins Books, Falmouth 2 pm

November 8, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, 2-3 pm

December 11, Paul Pratt Library, Cohasset, 7 pm



SUSAN PLAYFAIR is the author of Vanishing Species: Saving the Fish, Sacrificing the Fisherman. She lives in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Visit her online at

© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed