All About the Cranberry

Our Review of the Week explores the story behind the small but mighty cranberry.

America’s founding fruit : the cranberry in a new environment
Playfair, Susan. University Press of New England, 2014
243p index afp, 9781611686319 $85.00, 9781611686326 $24.95, 9781611686333

America's founding fruit: the cranberry in a new environment

Playfair (Vanishing Species, 2003) has written the first nonfiction book to trace the history and health benefits of cranberry cultivation in the US. The author researched primary historical sources, old cookbooks, and scientific and business journals to inform readers about how the cranberry, no longer just served for Thanksgiving, has become a “superfruit” in the fight against cancer. Playfair focuses on the present and future of American cranberry cultivation through interviews with cranberry growers from New England, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Oregon and plant geneticists to predict whether or not the cranberry will survive in a warming climate. Chapters are sequenced and titled after the steps of cranberry cultivation, and Playfair describes each step and brings the cranberry bog, its relationship with its environment, and the multiple workers and companies who depend on its bounty to life. If readers do not love the cranberry by the end of this book, Playfair provides 21 delicious cranberry recipes as one last effort to change their minds. Valuable for New England collections, large public libraries, culinary collections, and agricultural collections.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.
Reviewer: R. S. Wexelbaum, Saint Cloud State University
Subject: Science & Technology – Biology – Botany
Choice Issue: Mar 2015