vanishing species


Released in hardcover
in 2003 and in paperback in 2005

I grew up sailing and have cruised New England waters since the age of twelve. In an effort to protect the coastal community I love, I wrote Vanishing Species.

While conducting interviews for the book, I met men and women for whom I have developed the greatest admiration.

"They're in your morning cereal, on your salad, and in your trail mix. They're organic at the health food store or traditionally harvested at your grocery store. They're cranberries, but they're not tart. You feel good about eating them for your health or giving them to your children in place of candy. So who transformed the cranberry from tart to sweet?"

Excerpt from America's Founding Fruit: the cranberry in a new environment. October 2014 Publication





As a maverick with a varied working
background, I am intrigued by how others choose to work, especially
those who are fortunate enough
to work outdoors.


Saving the Fish,
Sacrificing the Fisherman
published in 2003, explores the role
of commercial fishermen working
in a harsh environment and an
even harsher regulatory environment.


My newest book, AMERICA'S FOUNDING FRUIT: the cranberry in a new environment, is less about policy and more about the product. It will introduce you to the niche world of growing and harvesting cranberries. October 2014 Release

"America's Founding Fruit is not just nostalgia about our continent's most unique native crop; it is about the future of what we hold dear in our hearts and on our tables. Susan Playfair treats the cranberry as having a dynamic relationship with cultures, rather than freezing it in time. Her book is not only exquisitely researched and gorgeously written, it is an important lens into what lies ahead in the New England food system." - Gary Nabhan, author of Camels and Caravans: A Space Odyssey and Growing Food in a Hotter Drier Land

Both books will take you the reader inside a unique world where you will meet some hard-working Americans you might not have met on your own.  

Susan is co-author of Cranberry flowering times and climate change in southern Massachusetts, an article to be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Biometeorology.

Contact Susan at