The fourth novel in Jerry Apps’s Ames County series, Cranberry Red brings the story into the present, portraying the challenges of agriculture in the twenty-first century. As the novel opens, Ben Wesley has lost his job as agricultural agent for Ames County. He is soon hired as a research application specialist for Osborne University, a for-profit institution that has developed “Cranberry Red,” a new chemical that promises not only to improve cranberry crop yields but also to endow the fruits with the power to prevent heart disease, reduce brain damage from strokes, and ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Ben must promote the new product to cranberry growers in Ames County and beyond, but he worries whether the promised results are credible. Was Cranberry Red rushed to market? When the chemical does all that the university claims it will do, Ben is relieved . . . until disturbing side effects emerge. Can he criticize Cranberry Red and safeguard farmers and consumers without losing his job, or will Ben’s honesty get him fired while his community continues to get sicker?
Finalist, General Fiction, Midwest Book Awards
About the Author
Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His other Ames County novels are The Travels of Increase Joseph, In a Pickle, and Blue Shadows Farm. His many nonfiction books include Every Farm Tells a Story, Old Farm, Cheese, Breweries of Wisconsin, One-Room Country Schools, and Ringlingville USA. He has received the Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers and the Notable Author Award from the Wisconsin Library Association.
“Cranberry Red sparkles with warm and vivid characters.”—Dennis Boyer, Eagletree Farm
“Deceptively simple, deceptively rural, Cranberry Red raises tremendous social and moral questions in the context of a good story.”—Maryo Gard Ewell, Colorado Council on the Arts
“The fourth title in Apps’ Ames County, Wis., series offers a feel-good slice of 21st-century life in smalltown U.S.A. . . . [A] satisfying outside-the-city-limits tale.”—Publishers Weekly
"Apps approaches his familiar themes (honor, the importance of community, the increasing threat to traditional farming) from a new angle, focusing on the issue of genetic modification and its impact on an entire way of life. As usual, he creates compelling characters and places them in a vividly realized setting."—Booklist
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