Processing your Produce for Prodigious Profits!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ShneekeyTheLost, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Black Hole Surfer

    Warning: This post is rated N for Number Crunching.
    The following content contains profit min/maxing that may not be suitable for some audiences.
    Viewer discretion is advised.

    So, if you're still reading after the warning, then you probably want to learn how to maximize your profits, or are at least curious as to how I build this massive wall of text. Or perhaps it's more of a Howard Stearns 'I wanna know what he's gonna say next' reflex. Either way, today our topic of discussion will be processing your crops rather than selling them straight, how to maximize your ability to do so, and what types of machines you are going to want.

    Quite bluntly, selling crops without processing them into artisan goods is, from a pure profit perspective, throwing away money. Sure, you *could* continue doing it, but you're going to be crippling your profit margin if you do. Mind you, not everyone cares about profits, which is perfectly fine for them, but for the purposes of this thread, we're going to consider this to be anathema, an objectionable act that should cause anyone to blush with shame. Roughly on par with certain unmentionable acts with barnyard animals in the town center at high noon. Or certain acts conducted by Sir Robert Walpole during his business with the South Seas Trading Company and brought about banking regulation as we know it today by conducting virtually every act now considered by the FTC to be illegal and almost single-handedly destroying one of the most powerful empires of the day.

    This guide also assumes you are NOT on the hillside (mining) or river (fishing) farm maps, as these do not have the space sufficient to set this up (barring mods to increase capacity of sheds). The other maps should have the space sufficient to put your master plan into action.

    But kegs and jars don't come cheap. So, how do you juggle making them with buying more crops to expand your farm with? Well, I'm glad you asked!

    Tools of the trade: a cost analysis

    Right now, we're going to be looking at the Preserves Jar and the Brewing Keg. We'll also talk about Aging Casks (with or without Amontillado) later.

    Now then, technically speaking, the Preserves Jar's materials can all be purchased from Robin (wood and stone) and Clint (coal), but doing so is going to be quite expensive. 50 wood at 10g each is 500g, 40 stone at 20g each is 800g, and Coal costs a whopping 150 each, so 8 of those is 1200 for a total of 2500g per each. That's not going to be sustainable in the early game when you are just beginning to process your produce. Now, if you can get yourself a large supply of Charcoal Kilns, 10 wood = 1 coal, which is actually cheaper (100 vs 150), which brings the price down to 2100, however considering the bulk you're going to be needing these materials in, it simply isn't time-feasible.

    Kegs, on the other hand, require Oak Resin which is not something which can be mass-purchased (if you are lucky you might find ONE on the cart vendor, but that's unreliable and strictly limited quantities). This means you are going to want an oak tree farm up ASAP. Because there's very little worse than having plenty of wood, copper, and iron... and no resin. Fortunately, you no longer need clay. Which is good, because there's no reliable way to get it in mass quantities anymore. However, Kegs are your key to long-term financial growth, so setting up your production of these is going to be a high priority.

    Casks, by the time you can make them, are trivial, needing only some wood and a single piece of hardwood. By the time you can unlock the cellar, you've probably already got access to your secret forest (assuming you aren't on the forest map and have renewable hardwood on your farm), and there's a very strictly limited number of these you can make anyway. These will be designated for roughly half of your 'filler crop' yield. Which, sadly, is about all you can get out of the cripplingly limited space available.

    So, which crops go in what?

    Bulk cheap crops, like Blueberries and Cranberries, go in Jars. For probably most of your second year, your tree fruit in your greenhouse will also likely get Jarred until you build up enough kegs to keg them all. Anything that can't fit into a Keg in a reasonable period of time can also go into a Jar for typically doubling to tripling of profits as a compromise between time and monetary needs. Except Hops.

    Just about everything else goes in kegs. This especially means Hops (Pale ale is always a top performer), but also means whatever Filler you use in your greenhouse (starfruit or ancient fruit), strawberries (starting year three), and eventually all of your Tree Fruits.

    Tree Fruits, raw, sell for 154 (assuming Tiller). Jarred, they sell for 461 (assuming Artisan), so roughly tripling your profit (just barely slightly less than tripling if you go out five significant digits). Kegging sells for 588 which is nearly quadrupling the profit, and the single highest profit-producing item you can have in your greenhouse. The question isn't IF you are going to process them, merely HOW, which is limited strictly by the number of Kegs you have after hops are processed.

    Strawberries perform roughly 20% better by kegging instead of jarring, a difference of roughly 100g per each (406 to 503 assuming Artisan). So it does make sense to keg them if possible. However, if you don't have enough kegs for them yet, jarring still roughly triples your profit (132g to 406).

    Potatoes, if you bother with them after the first year, get Jarred. Pickles actually makes more money than juice does. In fact, most vegetables end up doing better jarring than kegging, the profit margins are far narrower, but since most vegetables don't sell very well to begin with, they're rarely used if you are wanting to maximize profit. If you don't want to use Rhubarb in your second year, Potatoes will work, but you're going to be seeing roughly two-thirds the profit.

    The First Year: Growing Pains


    Obviously, you won't be making ANY kegs or jars until you get the necessary farming skill to do so. This means that your first spring is, sadly, going to be your biggest disappointment as you will likely not have the required ranks in Farming to make either. However, that doesn't mean we get to laze about! Once you get your first couple levels in Foraging, you're going to want to stock up on Acorns. Ideally, you're going to want a twenty tree plot of oak planted by the end of spring, so that by the time you get the Farming skill to make kegs, your supply of oak resin to make them will be firmly established. Also, you're going to want to really hit the mines hard, you're going to want at a minimum to get into the iron levels (40-79) before the end of the month. If you can hit gold levels, great, but I won't expect anyone to do that, not with everything else you have to do. The reason is that you can buy a small supply of Gold from Clint to make Quality Sprinklers for the first of Summer. The more sprinklers the better.


    Around each sprinkler, you will be planting 8 hops. So, the more sprinklers, the more hops, the more profit you ultimately make. Granted, you probably won't be able to realistically afford more than 10-15 gold ore from Clint, which is only 2-3 sprinklers, but even that will be a massive help for you. Don't forget all your bundle crops. You're going to want to fertilize your melons (okay, that came out worse than it sounded in my head...) and your corn, because ultimately you want to be over and done with your quality crops bundle by the end of the month. But once you start brewing the hops into pale ale, your profits will soar. Consider it a longer-term investment.

    Now, if you are like most farmers with an eye for profit, the majority of your farm, other than the corn for the quality crops bundle, what hops you can manage to squeeze around the sprinklers, and the other bundle crops, is going to be blueberries and melons. Now, Blueberries are far less profitable than they used to be, however they at least still give you 'cash in hand'. However, they are also going to be your first processed plant. Specifically, you're going to want to start using Preserves Jars to turn them into jelly. This will literally TRIPLE their sale price (from 50g for a regular blueberry to 150 for jelly, since you won't have Artisan yet).

    Designate a portion of your blueberry crop to being processed by Preserves Jars. See if you can get... oh, say five of them to start with. They produce every other day or so. It won't be much, but it'll be a start anyway. The more blueberries you set aside, the more long-term profit you have, at the expense of short-term profit to keep things going. It's a balancing act that is tough to get right, and there really isn't any kind of hard and fast 'correct' answer here. You're going to have to play it by ear, depending on what your expenses are.

    Also, you're going to need to hit the mines pretty hard here. Ideally, you're going to want to get down to 80+ and get enough gold to make all of your sprinklers (personally, I go with 20 sprinklers around a single scarecrow), however you don't really need to hit the bottom of the mine. Getting the Stardrop at level 100 is going to be sufficient for your downward progression (unless you want the obsidian blade for security purposes). Really, you're going to need a metric ton of Copper, so head back up to level 30, and go from 30-39 as many times as you can, gathering up as much copper as you can, and smelting it up.

    Tree taps are 2 copper bars each. You're going to want 20 of them. That means 40 copper bars devoted to this project. If you're wanting 20 sprinklers, that's also 20 iron, 20 gold, and 20 refined quartz. Also in the summer, you're going to be wanting some Lightning Rods, not only to protect your crops from lightning strike but also for the battery packs you'll need for your iridium sprinklers later on, which is going to be more iron.

    That means, once you get your gold for your sprinklers, you won't bother progressing any further down, you'll just be going 30-39 and 50-59 over and over again, grinding copper and iron and coal.

    Ideally, you'll have around 5-6 kegs by the end of the month, after all those one-time expenditures. But if not, don't worry. Store all your hops until you do start making kegs.


    This is where your processing production really ramps. Most of your crops will probably be Cranberries, despite the brutal nerf they received, plus whatever else you need for bundles, and maybe a fairy flower for honey.

    Assuming you have all your sprinklers you need, and all your tappers you need, you're in really good shape to start kicking your production into high gear. First, though, you're going to want to talk with Robin about some Sheds. You can start off with a pair of them, one for Jars and one for Kegs. One shed can handle 60 jars or kegs (actually, around 67 at most, to be precise, but I like to use round even numbers for purposes of calculation). This will give you a bit of 'growing room', and also protect your jars and kegs from random lightning strike.

    Cranberries are best processed with Jars, rather than kegs, since the difference in price is only 25g. This means that, particularly with your back-stock of blueberries to process, you need more Jars for some short-term capital growth. Try to not buy coal if you don't have to, but get up to around 30 jars to start off with. It's a nice round number that can handle the bulk of what you are throwing at it. Eventually, you'll want to fill the shed with 60, but for now, we can start with 30 before we shift gears.

    Now, if you followed the plan, you've got 20 oak trees with tappers that have been regularly producing oak resin. Now is when you want to start using it. Hitting the mines for the copper and iron are going to be your limiting factors here in keg production. You're going to want 60 kegs before you even consider going back to jars.

    Also, you're going to have an enormous purchase coming up as well, because you should be getting your greenhouse complete mid-fall. Which means you need 30 fruit trees, either Peach or Pomegranate. Because you can't put ANYTHING adjacent to a fruit tree and have it grow, these need to come FIRST. Once they fully mature, you're going to be getting 30 a day (we'll call this 'tree fruit' to keep it simple). Now, 60 jars is going to be sufficient to jar these, which is good, because it's going to require 210 kegs, which you will eventually want. You are going to be losing around 110g each preserves instead of wine, but for now, you're going to be needing to get them at least processed. Don't worry, long-term, they will be kegged, but for now, to keep your money supply going, you're going to be jarring them. If all your hops gets done processing, you can start them being kegged for now, while you build up your supply of jars to 60.

    Since the fruit trees take a full season to fully mature, your greenhouse is going to be largely neglected until that happens.


    Winter is going to continue to be busy for you as you ramp up production, and Robin is going to be quite busy upgrading your house for the Cellar and more Sheds as necessary. With 60 jars, you should be all set for jars, and won't need any more for some time, but you'll want to keep hitting copper and iron for more kegs. Eventually, you'll want to finish your mines so you can start farming Iridium from the Skull Mine for the iridium sprinklers, but since the trees won't be done until probably mid-winter at the earliest (longer if you didn't have the cash to make the purchase), you've got some time to get that done.

    You'll see yourself in a routine here. Mine for Copper and Iron and Coal, process them, make kegs on a weekly basis as your resin comes in, keep Robin busy building sheds to keep them in, and buying wood from her for more kegs. With 20 a week, you can make 80 in a season, hopefully that means you'll have around 160 or so by the end of winter, assuming your tappers were done by the end of summer.

    Then your fruit trees fully mature... and suddenly you've got a frenzy of activity in your greenhouse again.

    First, put in six iridium sprinklers (you should know the drill on placement by now). Then we plant our Hops and our Filler. Hops is going to be the majority. There's several layouts that are pretty good, look them up and find one. You're going to want a minimum of 70 hops, I believe you can get as many as 75 in there if you set it up correctly. Your Filler will either be Starfruit (if you haven't found an ancient seed yet) or Ancient Fruit (if you have), or some combination thereof. Since Ancient Fruit is slow to mature, if you only have one or two and need to ramp up with seed makers, fill in the rest with Starfruit from the Oasis (which should also be unlocked by now). If you want to fully (mostly) automate your crops next year with a Junimo Hut, you're going to want some Starfruit anyway.

    Just about everything in the greenhouse will ultimately be put into a Keg for brewing, however for now, you probably won't have the 300+ kegs necessary to do that. So, Hops takes priority for kegs. Tree Fruit can be Jarred for now. Filler can stick around, you won't be getting a whole bunch of it at first anyway. Heck, if it is ancient fruit, you probably won't see your first harvest that isn't immediately plowed back into the seed maker until Summer of the second year at best. 140 or so kegs is sufficient to keep your hops moving at a good rate. The rest of the kegs can be used to brew whatever Tree Fruit will fit, but hops takes clear priority. Right now, those are the only two things coming out of your greenhouse anyway.

    Year two: the fruits of labor

    Now, you probably didn't have the cash in the first spring to save over any strawberry seeds. If you had Coffee Beans in bulk, those work quite well as a cash crop (and one of the very few you can just sell as-is, or you can Keg them instead of your Tree Fruit, just remember that Coffee isn't an Artisan Good). Otherwise, just go to the Oasis and pick up Rhubarb and plant in bulk. Rhubarb is best brewed in a Keg. In fact, you get almost 1k from Rhubarb Wine with Artisan. And you get two harvests out of the year. Not too shabby. Let your Tree Fruit get jarred, and fill in Rhubarb where you can, but Hops still takes ultimate priority.

    The magic number for processing your greenhouse is going to be:

    210 for tree fruit + 140-150 for Hops (two kegs per hops plant) + a keg per ancient fruit. Assuming you have 72 hops and 30 ancient fruit, that's 174 kegs for the both of them + 210 = 384 kegs total. Obviously, that's going to take a while, due to Oak Resin. However, you can at least keep your hops and filler kegged nicely. Your filler is also going to get aged in casks.

    Casks should be trivial for you to make by now. You're going to need a grand total of 120 of them.

    Your first season of Filler gets aged. Your next month just gets sold as is. Rinse, wash, repeat; alternating between aging and not aging. It takes two months to age wine to iridium star quality. You can also age everything to gold-star quality if you prefer, there's no difference in profit, though, between two yields of gold-star and a yield of iridium star and regular, so alternating between regular and iridium just saves hassle.

    Don't forget to purchase strawberry seeds for next year.

    Summer will see a mixture of Hops and Starfruit, leaning toward Hops as your cash crop and Starfruit in the lanes you have to walk through to harvest it all with. Both can be Kegged. As always, Hops takes priority. If you want the Junimo Hut, some of the starfruit can go to that endeavor.

    Fall sees a field of Cranberries, which are all going to go into Preserves Jars. Also, Fall is when the last of the Kegs for your Greenhouse, which should now be fully operational, are going to be made. Which means the Preserves Jars can be devoted entirely to anything produced out of your field. If you want to continue making more kegs for your field crops (particularly the Hops in the summer), it might not be a bad idea.

    Right now, you're making over a million and a half a season just from what comes out of your greenhouse (assuming Artisan, you're still making over a million without it). You should have more than enough money to do whatever you like.

    Third year and onward: You are a very model of a modern millionaire

    Spring is for Strawberries. If you don't have enough Kegs yet, then into the Jars they go.

    Grandfather should be pretty happy with you. You've completed all the bundles for the community center, you've got money coming in hand over fist, it's entirely possible to get married and have a kid by now. You've pet your cat/dog enough times. You should get four candles right off the bat. If not, just keep raking in the money until he changes his mind.

    Summer sees the same combination of Hops and Starfruit. If you have your Junimo Hut set up, you can go almost exclusively Hops with but a thin row to get to your Hut, since the cute little spirits are able to walk through Trellis crops without impediment. Then again, this could well be a trap since they don't harvest in the rain, meaning you lose enormous profits on rainy days if you depend on Junimos to harvest for you, since hops produces daily. Otherwise, just what you did last year.

    Fall is Cranberries, which get Jarred. Since by now you don't have anything else that needs to go in a jar, you can probably keep up with them by now.

    In conclusion

    So, I hope I haven't bored you to tears. But quite frankly, even jarring is going to be vastly more profitable than just selling plain crops. I often hear 'oh, I have tons, like twenty or so jars', when I'm like... 'ummm... that's not going to cover a fraction of my field, much less everything else', and I'm wondering if they are deliberately playing with a handicap, or just plain don't know any better. For those who didn't... now you know. And knowing is... nah, not going there.

    I hope this guide has been helpful for some. I realize that not everyone cares about maximizing profits, and that's okay. Everyone has a very different play style, and the amazing thing about Stardew Valley is that it has something for all those various types of players, including those who don't particularly care about maximizing profits. But for those few of us who do (and you know who you are...) I hope this has been of use in your endeavors.
    • Jerev

      Jerev Pangalactic Porcupine

      Great guide!
      My plan was to make an efficient jar/keg farm next so you posted this at the right time. I think I will plant hops only in my first year because I hate having to harvest them each day. Fruit trees can be harvested every three days without loss...
      Since marrying Haley is always my top goal I may not be able to follow the script to the letter.

      One question remains: you always talk about an early greenhouse (my record was 13th of fall) but even if you take the cave bats for easy fruit, you need some animal products. If I didn't miss it in your guide, I'd like to ask, when do you recommend building a coop or barn?
        Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
      • nash579

        nash579 Astral Cartographer

        about harvesting everyday remember you will got the junimos helping you with that. Riding to your huts and collecting them will save you alot of effort.
        • ShneekeyTheLost

          ShneekeyTheLost Black Hole Surfer

          You're going to see FAR lower profits if you do that. Like losing a half a million per season. There's a reason Hops are the primary crop in the greenhouse, because they have significantly more profit margin over ancient fruit. The only thing that beats it are the trees. However, if you want a less stressful setup, and don't mind the loss of money, you are correct that if you JUST plant the trees and ancient fruit, you can afford to skip a couple of days. Just keep in mind that preserves produce every other day, so until you get enough kegs to keep up with your tree fruits, you're going to want to go in every other day to keep up with your preserves.

          Romancing Haley is actually pretty darn easy. Start off by gifting her foraged Daffodils in the spring, including on her birthday. Once you unlock the Vault, forage for coconuts for Loved gifts from that point forward.This isn't going to impact your production at all. May want to sttockpile Daffodils though, to make sure you don't run out before unlocking the Vault. Sunflowers are something you're going to want at least one of anyway, might as well have a small field of Sunflowers for gifting purposes. They'll be a very minimal impact on your overall production, and grow in both summer and fall, giving you a Loved gift idea until you can unlock the vault.

          I typically get either a Barn or a Coop with the fruits of my first Blueberry harvest in Summer. Coop will get you the Large Eggs, both white and brown. Just make sure you have at least one of both color chickens in your coop. This may cost you a bit in buying/selling of chickens. Optimally, get two of each color, but realistically you only need one. Barn costs more, so might not be feasible yet, but will net you the Large Milk and more importantly going forward, nets you a steady supply of Cheese which is both a great gift AND an amazing food item to heal as you hit the mines.

          Also make sure to hit the cart vendor. You're specifically trolling for Wool, Large Goat Milk, and Duck Egg. Well, and the Red Cabbage and Duck Feather, of course. Finding either the large goat milk or the duck egg for sale tells you which animal house you don't upgrade immediately. If you get poor luck and don't get either by the last week in Summer, go ahead and upgrade your Coop and get a single duck. Once you get the duck egg and feather, sell it off since they aren't really worth keeping around. Same with the goat, just get a single goat. Remember that you only need five out of six, so if you can obtain any one animal product (other than large milk or large eggs), it saves you an entire tier of requirement.

          I will freely admit, the animals are the toughest part of this, because you're basically needing your greenhouse open ASAP to start getting your trees down, because until your trees are fully grown, you can't do ANYTHING else in your greenhouse, which is really going to suck. The 13th of Fall is the ideal day, after the pumpkin matures. You can actually push that back a couple of days, though, if you use Speed-Gro on the pumpkin.

          This is a technique that can be dovetailed into a Year One Community Center run, since you're really not sacrificing anything by growing the appropriate crops. The only key there is to make sure you get the duck feather for the dye bundle, hope you find a Red Cabbage and rabbit's foot for sale from the Cart Vendor, and use Bats in the hopes that you get a Pomegranate and the apples. Or plant an apple tree at some point before the last week of Summer somewhere outside.
            Jerev likes this.
          • HappyMaw

            HappyMaw Void-Bound Voyager

            How many Trees can you plant in the Greenhouse? I have a little orchard outside that I started to get the apple for one of the bundles but it seems like a gimmick, not a real money-maker. I have a lot of Starfruit in my Greenhouse - profit of 1700 for every jam (w/ Artisan talent)... I don't have a ton of jars/kegs, tho, so I'm really not maximizing that and there are some random berries in there.
              Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
            • nash579

              nash579 Astral Cartographer

            • HappyMaw

              HappyMaw Void-Bound Voyager

              Thanks for the link!
              • ShneekeyTheLost

                ShneekeyTheLost Black Hole Surfer

                As was said earlier, I did a whole post on optimizing the greenhouse. tl;dr version: 30 trees, of which 12 are on the dirt. Which means you have 104 left to plant on. That screenshot was slightly optimal on the far left side, you can actually fit in 74 Hops and 30 Ancient Fruit. This means you're going to need 148 kegs for the hops and 30 more for the ancient fruit for a total of 178 for those.

                The real problem, and probably what you're going to not want to do, is the 30 trees produce a fruit per tree per day. Since it takes a week for the trees to go to wine, that's a whopping 210 additional. Yikes!

                However, if you want to settle for preserves, you can set up ~60-90 jars and just make peach/pomegranate preserves. You'll loose some profit, but preserves comes out every other day or so, instead of weekly.

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