Profitable Plants: what to grow when

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ShneekeyTheLost, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. ShneekeyTheLost

    ShneekeyTheLost Master Astronaut

    This thread is rated N for Number Crunching.
    This thread contains scenes of optimization and min/maxing which is not suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

    But first, a word from our sponsors! Two caveats I feel must be included before proceeding:

    * This is a guide for those wishing to learn which plants are the most profitable. As such, this may ruin the fun for new players. I highly suggest that you avoid this guide if this is the first time you are playing Stardew Valley. Part of the fun is figuring things out, so wait until your next playthrough before employing strategies or guides. After all, you can only play it the first time once, let's not spoil the wonder, shall we?

    * This is merely to define what is the most 'profitable', not 'the best', which is a subjective term and not quantifiable by any scientific means. The only determination I will be employing here is pure profit. I will not be taking into consideration other uses of crops, including use in recipes or gifting or bundles or any other metric. This is purely a for-profit guide.

    "What is the most profitable plant to grow?" is a common question, particularly among newer players. However, the answer can be quite complex, depending on the circumstances. I hope to address this question in the most concise and comprehensive manner to which I can attain.

    There are several variables which will significantly change the results, but the primary variables are: Season, Speed Gro availability, crop availability and processing capability.

    As such, I will be organizing this guide by season, and will have two different sections per season: first year, which assumes you have zero processing capability, access to speed-gro, second-year and oasis crops, or anything other than simply selling your crops as-is for profit; and second-plus year, which assumes all of these have been unlocked and you have the processing capacity for anything we discuss.

    Notes will be made for crops whose profit is affected by Speed-Grow, and what effect it has.

    Profitability is going to be determined as net yield for the same crop in the same space for the entire season. This will take into considerations purchase price, sale price, and the yield, or the number of times you can harvest per season. We will also assume in year 2+ that you have the Artisan skill, because if you only care about maximizing profits, there really is no other option for perks, and if you cared about things other than profits, you wouldn't be here!

    So, without further ado:


    Ahh, glorious spring. Life beginning anew after the bleak winter. The sonorous birds singing, the pollen in the air choking out your last breath from allergies... such are the simple pleasures of the season. Your game starts in Spring, and so you have the least ability to augment anything or even afford crops at this time, but your second year onward will see it being a quite profitable season.

    First Year

    Obviously, you won't have access to much, indeed your primary issues are going to be stamina to plant and care for your crops, as you don't even have sprinklers yet, and the money to actually purchase the seeds.

    Parsnips are the cheapest crop, however their profitability isn't much to speak of. Their advantage is that they only take four days to grow, and they are cheap, making them an ideal day one purchase option. But overall... you only yield 15g profit per crop, as they cost 20 and sell for 35. They are completely unaffected by speed grow or the deluxe version thereof. You can have a total of 7 harvests per season, bringing your monthly profit to a lackluster 105g

    Potatoes are a popular first spring crop, with a 20% chance of a second yield per harvest, which will be taken into consideration with our profit calculation. They cost 50g each, and sell for 80g each. Multiply the 80g by 1.2 to take into account the bonus yield chance, and you net 96 as the modified gross per potato, bringing the net per harvest at 46. It takes 6 days for a potato to ripen, meaning you can get a maximum of 4 yields for the season. This brings the total monthly profit to 184g

    Kale is another spring crop to consider. It costs more than Potatoes but the results are also more expensive. However, it does not have a 20% chance for a bonus crop. Does it measure up? Let's see! Cost is 70g, sale price is 110, meaning 40g profit per each. Multiply by 4, and we come up to 160g. If the potato didn't have a chance for a bonus crop, it would've won. Sadly... it doesn't quite measure up.

    Cauliflower is probably the most expensive crop of the season you can buy from Pierre, ringing in at 80g per seed. However, they sell for an equally impressive 175g each, giving a profit per each of 95g! They take 12 days to grow, so theoretically you can get two harvests per season (although in practice in the first year, this is non-viable), you could have a seasonal profit of 190g. As this guide does not concern itself with practicalities, this puts Cauliflower in the pole position for this race, even though from a practical perspective, potatoes are likely going to be easier for the first-year farmer to manage.

    Green Beans are the trick pony of Spring, being a multi-yield crop, so you only have to buy it once, letting you amortize the cost over several harvests! However, they are a Trellis Crop, meaning you cannot walk in the same square they occupy, which means you will need extra space to plant an equal number so you can reach them all. It does cost 60g to purchase, but you can get a theoretical maximum of six harvests if you plant them on Day 1. It is a good thing you get multiple harvests, because the sell price of 40g doesn't even cover the cost of the seed! However, with six yield, that brings your seasonal gross to 240. Subtracting the 60 for the initial buy-in and you net 180g. You just barely miss out on beating Potatoes, strictly because Potatoes have a chance of having a bonus crop every now and then, and is 10g seasonal off of Cauliflower.

    But wait, we have a new contestant! Half-way through the season, Strawberries storm onto the scene during the Egg Festival. Costing an impressive 100g per seed, can they make up the difference in the short time they are available?

    Strawberries are a multi-yield plant, like Green Beans, having two yield for the first season which you purchase them in, due to starting half-way. Each strawberry sells for an impressive 120g, bringing your seasonal yield to 240 - 100 = 140. Sadly, not worth actually planting in your first year as opposed to more potatoes or cauliflower from a pure profit perspective, although holding the ground tilled over for the next season might reap you a significant savings on endurance for your first day of summer.

    Ladies and Gentleman, we have such a close race, but Cauliflower wins at a theoretical 190g per season, Potatoes are the runner up at 184g, followed by Green Beans at 180g. Keep in mind that luck plays a part in your potatoes bonus yield, so it is entirely possible that if you are exceptionally lucky on the day of potato harvest, you might yield even more. For this reason, and the timing involved, many people suggest Potatoes for your first-year cash crop, but in an ideal world which does not take into consideration such mundane limitations, Cauliflower is indeed the most profitable.

    Year Two Plus

    Ladies and Gentlemen, last year we had a tight race, and the actual winner was a matter of some controversy, but Cauliflower's profitability is now being challenged in a new arena. Can it retain its title?

    In our second year, we've got kegs and jars to boost our profits, which is going to affect things. And Deluxe Speed Grow is also now on the table as an option. We also have some new contestants which will be announced in their own time.

    Let's start with the pole position, Cauliflower! Now, being a vegetable, Cauliflower doesn't get the same multiplier out of kegging that fruits do, which really hurts our returning champion. It is actually more profitable to pickle cauliflower, ringing in 560g/ea. With two harvests per season, that brings in a total of 1,120g for the season! But wait, what's this? Deluxe Speed-Grow can actually grant a third yield, bringing Cauliflower up to 1,680g for the season! We've consulted with the judges, as it doesn't seem like this should happen, but the judges are allowing it as this is the no-holds barred event, so the ruling stands. Subtracting the buy-in of 240 for the three harvests, and we net 1,440 for the season.

    Potatoes were our runner up from last year. Can they manage a comeback? Well, Potatoes are another vegetable, so we'll be jarring them into pickles for maximum profit, ringing in at 294 gross. Remember that Potatoes can get an occasional bonus yield, so 294*1.2 = 352.8 by weighted average, assuming average luck, per crop. Obviously, this will vary depending on how many bonus crops you can net, but this will be the average we will be entering for our contest. Subtract the entry cost of 50g and we net 302.8 per harvest. Multiply by four harvests, and we end up with a total of 1,211.2g. If Cauliflower hadn't hit the NOS, it would've won, but it looks like our runner up is still coming in second place.

    Green Beans are yet another vegetable, so again the most profitable option is going to be turning them into pickles. While Deluxe Speed Grow will reduce the initial growth time, it will *not* affect the recurring timing, and it won't shave enough time off for another harvest, leaving them at a total of 6 harvests per season. Pickled green beans ring in at 182g each, for a seasonal gross of 1092. Subtracting the 60g seed price, and we end up with a seasonal net of 1,032. Sadly, they just didn't have the get up and go this year.

    Our next returning contestant is Kale. Again, being a vegetable, he's going to get quite Pickled, which sells for 378 a pop. Subtracting the initial cost of 70 and we net 308 profit per harvest. Multiply by four harvests, and we get a total of 1,232g for the season! Looks like pickling paid off, as he's now beaten Potatoes and is sitting in the #2 slot.

    Strawberries are back, and if you purchased them last year and didn't plant them, or if you grew them and put them in a seed maker, you can get these babies going from Day 1, meaning you now have an impressive 5 yields for the season! We're going to consider the base cost of 100g even if you used a seed maker, just to make things fair for the other contestants. Strawberries are our first fruit contestant, which means they're going the Wine route for 503g per shot. But wait, what's this? Strawberries are also using a Deluxe Speed-Gro injection system, giving them a sixth harvest! This brings Strawberries up to a crushing 3,018g gross, or 2,918 net seasonal yield, dominating the competition and lapping even our previous victor!

    Now we come to a new contestant from the Oasis, introducing Rhubarb! This bad boy also has a Deluxe Speed Grow injection system, to give him three yields. Brewing it into wine for a gross of 923 minus the 100g initial cost for 823 per harvest, brings this power performer up to 2,469! While it doesn't beat Strawberries, it still dominates the vegetables, leaving Cauliflower eating its dust.

    The others can't even begin to compete, so we're going to call it here. Strawberries take the cup at an impressive 2,918g for the season, with the newcomer Rhubarb making an impressive showing as runner up at 2,469g, followed by Cauliflower at 1,440g.


    Welcome to the Summer Cup for the profit races. We had some stiff competition last season, but this season we've got a couple of entries which have adopted the multi-yield chassis. Let's see how this affects things. Even in the first year, we will be assuming everyone has Tiller, because everyone is wanting Artisan eventually.

    First Year

    Our first entry this season got a brutal beating in the 1.1 patch update, let's give a fond welcome to Blueberries! They seem to be adopting a spamming strategy, being a multi-yield AND multi-harvest crop. With four harvests and a minimum of three berries per harvest, this gives them 12 berries per season. Ringing in at 55g/ea, this gives them a seasonal gross of 660g, and after the 80g cost, brings us to a seasonal net profit of 580g! An impressive start for a first-year contestant.

    Next up are Melons. This high-roller aims to adopt Cauliflower's strategy of high cost and high sale price, and only two harvests per year. With a sale price of 250g and a buy-in of 80g, this brings the Melon to 170 per harvest. Two harvests give the Melons a monthly profit of 340g and rolling into the second place position.

    Our next contestant is a Trellis crop. He's got high hopes and dreams, but I think that this is just not his year. Let's still give Hops a hearty welcome. Now, Hops brews up nicely, but in Year One, we won't be taking that into consideration, as per our rules, even though you could technically hold them over the fall and winter to prepare at your leisure. Hops is a multi-harvest crop, and... get this, produces daily, once it fully matures, giving it 18 harvests! Sadly, hops by themselves only sell for 27g each, so that comes out to a gross of 486 minus 60g buy-in for a total of 426g for the season. Still beating out Melons, but not able to keep up with Blueberries. But we'll keep an eye out for this guy next year.

    Coming out of the back is none other than Coffee! He actually started off last season, but his profits were so pathetic that we didn't bother including him. But this season, he's already accelerated to fully grown from day one! With 14 harvests available this season, and a yield of 4 beans per harvest, he rakes in a staggering 56 beans! However, coffee beans only rake in 15g/ea, giving the monthly gross of 840. However, the trick here is if you got him from the cart vendor or as a drop from soot sprites. Because the cart vendor charges 2,500 for the bean, meaning you won't even clear a profit! For this contest, we'll assume you got it from a Soot Sprite, so the 840g stands as the seasonal profit, and takes first place!

    No one else is going to come close, so let's call it here. Coffee leads the pack at 840g/ea, assuming you got it from a Soot Sprite in the Spring and planted it in time for it to fully mature before summer, Blueberries in 2nd place at 580g/ea, with Hops trailing at 426

    Year Two Plus

    Are you ready for a treat? Welcome back to the second year plus circuit of the summer cup! This year we'll be seeing some old favorites return, and some new contenders as well. Let's see how they all measure up!

    In pole position is our previous winner, Coffee! However, as he already started the season fully grown, he cannot take advantage of Deluxe Speed Gro, he only produces seeds, not fruit or vegetables, but can be brewed into coffee. As with last year, he has 56 beans for the season. However, it takes 5 coffee beans to brew up a coffee worth only 150g. And because it is not an Artisan good, it won't get the boost that everyone else gets. This leaves the contestant with 11 coffee and 1 bean for a total of 1,665g for the season.

    Melons are back, and has a trick up its sleeve this year. It's got Deluxe Speed Gro to give it a third harvest, plus brewed as Wine! Let's see how this changes things. Melon Wine sells for 1050g. Subtracting 80g buy-in we get a harvest yield of 970g. Multiply by three harvests, we get 2,910g! He certainly got payback on Coffee this year, but is it enough to meet the other contenders?

    Blueberries are also back, and enjoying quite the multiplier from making Preserves. They also manage to get a fifth harvest out of Speed-Gro, meaning they get 15 berries per season. At 210g per blueberry preserves, this gives them a seasonal gross of 3,150. Taking out the buy-in of 80g we get 3,070 for the Season, not only brutally dominating Coffee, but even managing to overtake Melons by a nose!

    Rumbling in with a turbo-charged strategy, Hops is back, and also looking for some payback on Coffee who stole what he thought was going to be his title last year. Not only is he turbo-charging his season with Deluxe Speed Gro, giving him two extra yields, he's also brewing up some Pale Ale at an impressive 420g/ea. With 20 harvests at 420g/ea we have a monthly gross of... is this right...8,400g! Subtracting the 60g buy-in, we still get a stupendous seasonal profit of 8,340g, lapping the previous competitors several times over! How can anyone beat this?

    Our next contender intends to do just that. A new entry from the Oasis, the one, the only... Starfruit! Turbocharged with Deluxe Speed Grow for three harvests for the season, Starfruit Wine is the single most expensive per-item artisan good in the entire game at a stunning 3,150g each! It does cost an equally impressive 400g, leaving a per harvest profit of 2,750g, and a monthly profit of... drumroll please... 8,250! It misses Hops by a nose, exclusively because Hops got those two extra harvests from his Deluxe Speed Gro.

    There are no other contenders this season which can come anywhere near this performance, we we will be calling it here. Hops in the lead at 8,340 with Starfruit close on his heels at 8,250. No one else even got close to these two.


    Hello everyone and welcome back. The fall races are the final for the year as Winter has no growable crops. Compared to last season's amazing performance, we really don't have any heroes on this circuit.

    First Year

    Our first contender for the season are the perennial favorite: Pumpkins! With two harvests for the year, and 352 per each, and 100g cost, we're looking at 252 per each or 504 for the season. A great starter!

    Next up are Cranberries. While typically processed into sauce, the raw berries themselves are an excellent source of antioxidants, so let's see how they fare after the brutal 1.1 berry nerf. It's a multi-harvest and multi-yield crop, with 5 harvests and 2 per harvest for a total of 10 berries. Ringing in at 82 per berry, that brings in a monthly gross of 820. BUT, Cranberries have a brutal buy-in of 240, leaving them with only 580 profit for the season! Barely squeezing ahead of Pumpkins, but taking first place.

    Corn has adopted Coffee's strategy of building up speed in the previous season, where it actually *lost* money, in order to perform here. Since it is starting fully mature, it gets 7 harvests. With a price tag of 55g each, and a buy-in of 150g, that comes out to 55*7=385-150=235 for the season. Even with the momentum it built up last season, it still just can't keep up.

    Eggplant is our next entry. Another multi-harvest crop, has 5 harvests at 66g each for a gross of 330. Minus the buy-in of 20g and you net 310g for the season.

    Grapes are a multi-harvest Trellis crop with a rapid refresh rate. With 6 harvest for the year, and 88 per bunch, you gross out at 528. The buy-in is only 60g which leaves Grapse at 468 for the season, bringing in a respectable third place.

    But there is one more fellow to consider, Gem Berry! Now, there's a strictly limited supply of these guys, you can only buy two per week from the Cart Vendor, and only if you have the buy-in price of 1,000 each. You also only get one crop for the entire season. But with a sale price of 3,000, it brings the seasonal net to 2,000! In practical terms, you are *never* going to get enough of these guys to make it practical as a solid cash crop, but for the rules of this test, that doesn't matter.

    None of the others are going to be even close, so we are going to call it here. Gem Berry steams in first place at 2,000, with Cranberries as runner up at 580 Pumpkins trailing at 504.

    Year Two Plus

    Well, this year we've got some hungry competitors, upset at Gem Berries steamrolling the competition. Complaints about it being a 'ringer' were noted and filed, but it was within the rules, so the judges had to allow it. Will anyone get their revenge?

    Gem Berries are *NOT* a fruit, and so cannot be processed at all, leaving them at the 2k they won last year's race with.

    Cranberries are back and looking for some payback. They don't get any benefit from Deluxe Speed Gro, so they're staying at 5 harvests, and two berries each, for 10 berries total. Cranberry Wine sells for 315/ea for a total of 3,150 gross. Now subtract the hefty 240g buy-in and we come to a net of 2,910g seasonal net! Take that, Gem Berries!

    Pumpkins are back as well, and they've managed to use the same Deluxe Speed Gro charged engine that Melons and Cauliflower use to get 3 harvests for the year. Technically, they can get more by being brewed into Juice than made into pickles, at 1008g/ea. Taking out the buy-in of 100g that's 908 net per harvest, times three harvests, gives a seasonal profit of 2724, still trailing Cranberries.

    Grapes are back as well, but despite trying the Deluxe Speed Gro, can't quite get the extra harvest without also having Agriculturist. Since that is mutually exclusive with Artisan, he'll have to settle for 6 harvests at 336g per wine or a seasonal gross of 2016. Subtracting out the 60g buy-in leave them with a still anemic 1,956.

    The Oasis shop clearly didn't want to bother with this race, as their entrant, Beets, didn't even clear 1500g, making only 1,320 seasonal as pickles.

    No one else ever got close, so we are calling it here. The winner is Cranberries with a seasonal profit of 2,910g, followed by Pumpkins at 2,724 and Gem Berries sliding into third at 2k even.

    Bonus Round

    But wait, we have a new challenger! Ancient Fruit is challenging all three champions from the second year plus circuits combined for a yearly profit contest! Can they do it, or did they write a check their profit margins can't cash?

    The champion for Spring, as we recall, was Strawberries. Brewed into Wine and turbo-charged Deluxe Speed-Gro engine raking in 2,918g in seasonal profits. But Ancient Fruit, even with Deluxe Speed Gro, only gets a single harvest! Ancient Fruit Wine runs 2310g/ea. So already, Ancient Fruit is starting to run behind. Can it catch up?

    Hops was the Fall champion, at a stunning 8,340g for the season. But now Ancient Fruit has hit full speed, raking in four harvests at 2,310g/ea, for a total seasonal profit of 9,240! I can't believe it, the upset of the year!

    The fall champion was Cranberries, the worst of the three champions, at a mere 2,910g, but Ancient Fruit is still going strong at 4 harvests at 2310g/ea for a total of 9,240g for the season!

    Let's tally, shall we? 2918+8340+2910=14,168 for the year for the reigning champions. Ancient Fruit, however, brought in 2,310+9,240+9,240= 20,790!

    Ancient Fruit is the clear victor for the year!

    In conclusion

    In your first year, spring was technically won by Cauliflower, although practically speaking most people go for Potatoes. However, in the year two plus category, Strawberries dominated the scene!

    Likewise, in the Summer, Coffee dominated the first year category by a technicality with Blueberries trailing. But in the second year plus category, coffee, ironically enough, ran out of energy and Hops came back to completely destroy everyone but the runner up, Starfruit.

    In the fall, Gem Berries upset everyone on a technicality in the first year races, followed by Cranberries. But in the second year plus, Cranberries get payback by taking the lead as gem berries cannot be processed.

    However, the annual winner was Ancient Fruit, which beat all three previous champions combined on per-year profits.

    I hope you have enjoyed the races, everyone. As always, grow responsibly.
    • Stryder87

      Stryder87 Giant Laser Beams

      I love this post. :headbanging: :3
      • sunlite

        sunlite Pangalactic Porcupine

        I'm not a min-maxer, but I need to say one thing:

        From a profit perspective, growing strawberries year 1 is absolutely a good investment. You grow the strawberries and get 2 harvests with the time you have left, so each plant will give you two strawberries. You can save these strawberries until you get a seed maker to turn into more seeds, allowing you to plant them from day 1 on year 2.
        • Jerev

          Jerev Pangalactic Porcupine

          In your first spring guide some months ago strawberries were a key component. Would you now recommend growing more potatoes or cauliflowers?
          I would still grow them for the reasons Sunlite mentioned (being able to plant them next spring on day 1). But that's because I do grow crops that I like or need for gifting. The question above does interest me out of curiosity.
            Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
          • ShneekeyTheLost

            ShneekeyTheLost Master Astronaut

            Well, having done the numbers, I would have to suggest against planting strawberries in your first year.

            Here's the thing... mistakes in your first spring will snowball like no other mistakes. In my original guide, I had suggested like 40 strawberries. That's a LOT. More importantly, that's a lot of endurance you are eating up every day by watering them. Endurance better spent in the mines to get down to gold level to get your sprinklers up and running.

            If you want to purchase seeds... as long as you don't make yourself go broke, go ahead. You can always plant them in the greenhouse when it unlocks mid-fall to propagate them, since it is doubtful you will have enough money for 30x trees in the middle of fall before your first crops come in. But planting them seems now to be a trap. It is better to plant Cauliflower, as you will have JUST enough time to harvest them before the end of the season, and it has a better profit margin.

            40x cauliflower will net you 7,600 profit from the one harvest, assuming no stars. And getting a gold-star Cauliflower is one way to get the absolute best result from the Luau, which is 120 friendship points with the entire town.
            • Shoukry

              Shoukry Big Damn Hero

              The math is a little fuzzy in this, but mostly accurate overall. You neither account for the cost of Deluxe Speed-Gro either from crafting or buying from either store, nor do you consider its benefits for many of the crops: e.g., potatoes get six harvests. They still aren't as profitable, but the numbers come out much differently.

              And, yes, 4 potato harvests makes more than 2 strawberry harvests in the first spring, but 2 potato harvests and 2 strawberry harvests make more than 4 potato harvests. Strawberries are still worth buying in the first year from a crop-only standpoint. 180g net per 12 days compared to potatoes' 92g over the same time.
                Tamsin likes this.
              • Jerev

                Jerev Pangalactic Porcupine

                But buying lots of potatoes should result in high endurance costs aswell. So buying cauliflowers would be the only way to decrease that. Besides following your guide only to a certain point, I was still able to mine a lot and end up with around 15-17 sprinklers on day 1 of the first summer. It is possible with strawberries to thrive.

                But as I said in the past: I only semi powergame so I will buy strawberries again. If a friend asks me what a more efficient way would be, I will tell him/her to buy cauliflowers.
                • Stryder87

                  Stryder87 Giant Laser Beams

                  I love threads like this. :coffee:
                  • zlobert98

                    zlobert98 Space Hobo

                    Hey man thanks for the reply its awesome :D
                    So this is for my version?1.3.28?
                    • UnexpectedParole

                      UnexpectedParole Phantasmal Quasar

                      This was posted over 1 year ago, so it was not posted for this version which was released this year.

                      However, at a quick glance and from my understanding of the changes made in this version <multi-player and notes mostly> -I do not recall any economic changes to the game aside from the increased cost of building materials at the shops and the ability to limit profits in multiplayer the math still applies. <I think>

                      I do know that if you complete the spring crops bundle on the day of the Spring Festival you can use the speed gro on your strawberries which gets 20 of your year 1 strawberries a 3rd harvest. That was not mentioned here. I found in my latest game, that Pierre routinely had a gold strawberry and a regular strawberry for sale after I sold all of my strawberries to him. So I kept buying them (at raised prices, but in the spring I needed the cash influx to fund everything and my fall money was much more available). I gifted the gold strawberry to dmitrius, and put the regular one in the seed maker. No need to save spring 1 strawberries for later. Sell for more cash to put into improved tools, and more summer crops. (In my opnion.)
                      • ShneekeyTheLost

                        ShneekeyTheLost Master Astronaut

                        This was less a planting guide and more a number crunching exercise of 'what plant has theoretically the highest profit per plant' with various variables shuffled around.

                        I am working on a revised 'First Spring Build Order' guide, designed for helping casual players achieve things they never thought they could. The old one was... old, and did not use certain strategies that were developed/refined after that guide was written.
                        • Skinflint

                          Skinflint Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                          I hope for someone (perhaps myself at some point) to hammer it all out based on total effort and opportunity cost as well as time to final sale, because for example not all Keg and Preserves Jar products take the same amount of time, and multi harvests take more time to gather, impacting total harvest possible to gather in time on the day (beyond the toll on energy) and skewing a season's potential total. It may be the case that slower heavy-hitters like Starfruit and cauliflower still beat out multi harvests like cranberries, from the standpoint of profit per unit of time in practice, seems to me, as even brewing will require more swaps for faster-brewing items…
                          • ShneekeyTheLost

                            ShneekeyTheLost Master Astronaut

                            That has already been done, however you have a false conception which is not uncommon in terms of opportunity cost.

                            Multi-harvests are typically the most profitable, because you don't need to re-plant them, which means you have a lower stamina cost. The extra time involved in harvesting multiple times isn't particularly annoying, since it doesn't consume stamina, letting you pair it with a stamina-draining but relatively rapid process like tree chopping or mining, which needs to be done anyway to ensure continued resource acquisition. In other words, it's not a really demanding cost because it can be offset by doing other things which doesn't take much time but consumes much stamina.

                            Having said that, there is an ACTUAL, not opportunity, cost involved in multi-harvest crops which isn't often addressed, and that is processing. For example, in most cases you would process Cranberries in Jars rather than Kegs, because the value added of wine over preserves is minimal (25g/ea), but takes far less time (2-3 days vs a week). However, the more you plant, the more preserves jars you need to keep up with your product. This is partially offset by the fact that nothing grows in the winter that you can jar, so as long as you have enough jars to process all your cranberries by the end of winter, you are good to go.

                            The actual cost of processing cranberries is also calculated in a straightforward manner. Each Cranberry plant will produce fruit five times in the Fall season. Even with Deluxe Speed Gro, you aren't going to get more. Each time it produces fruit, it produces two fruit. That comes out to on average one jar per plant (2.8 days per berry), or half of that if you don't mind continuing to process into the winter.

                            Pumpkins, however, take longer to grow, you only get two (three with Deluxe Speed-Gro) harvests, and they're a vegetable so the difference between jar and keg products isn't all that high. So you can have one jar per every five pumpkins and still be able to keep up with demand, or one for every ten if you don't mind processing into the winter.

                            Therefore, there's a much higher infrastructure investment for multi-harvest crops, in general, as opposed to longer-growing crops. But that's the only cost, real or opportunity, which is higher for multi-harvest crops than slow-harvest crops.
                            • Skinflint

                              Skinflint Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                              Because I am on iPod Touch (6th-gen), harvesting is much slower (now that I've watched how you can spin the cursor around on desktop (and console?) and literally run past rows as you plant), so that's why opportunity cost takes such precedence in my mind. I don't dispute anything you said beyond that, which is purely down to the touch interface's limitations (exacerbated by a tiny 4.5" screen).

                              For my own mental clarity I will probably have to gather a calibration of average sowing speed on my device amortized over a day balanced against Jar/Keg times vs prices (I'm definitely just aiming for the long game through Winter), then prioritize out a programme of how much of what to grow when not just for harvest logistics but also for fermentation yield speed/prices (like you pointed out about cranberries' lower preserves price vs wine but so much faster yield—that's another aspect I meant by "opportunity cost" (again, speed of yield mitigated by speed of swapping the vessels)), and see how it all shakes out.
                                Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
                              • ShneekeyTheLost

                                ShneekeyTheLost Master Astronaut

                                Then here's some ideas for you to start with:


                                Year 1, it is pretty much an ad-hoc, you probably won't be able to clear enough space to have a problem with how long it takes to harvest things, so you can mostly follow along any of the several guides. In general, you're going to be wanting Potatoes and later on Strawberries as your primary cash crops. If you are doing CC Bundle Completion, you might want to put down a plot of 40 Parsnips and keep replanting them until you get your 5x Gold Star Parsnips for the Quality Crops Bundle, but other than that, Potatoes and Strawberries are going to be your jam.

                                Year 2+ you'll be looking at different factors than us PC users. Assuming you don't have enough Ancient Fruit yet (you can use the Greenhouse to propogate, and if you're looking at the longer game, you can store all the fruit over the fall and winter and turn them all into seeds for planting on Deluxe Speed Grow on Spring 1, Y2), you'll probably want to be looking at Rhubarb, obtained from the Oasis. Assuming Artisan (because why would anyone want anything else if they cared about income optimization?), Rhubarb Preserves sell for 686g while Rhubarb Wine sells for 923. That's roughly an increase in value of about 1/3rd, which at least in my book means it'll be enough more profitable to keg than jar. Basically, it's like a more expensive (and profitable) version of Cauliflower, with an almost two-week growth time. So even if you are kegging, you still only need one keg per two Rhubarb planted to keep up with demand.

                                Hopefully, you sold your Strawberries last year in order to get the cash necessary to carry over to the purchases at the beginning of Summer, but in the event that you did not, Strawberries are even more profitable. You can get five harvests out of one plant over the course of Spring if planted on the first, six if you use Speed Gro, and Preserves sell for around 400 while Wine sells for roughly 500, so you're looking at a 25% increase. Still worth it in my book to keg over jarring, but if your kegs are full and you've got all these jars that were processing cranberries last season that are now available, go for it. You need roughly 2 kegs per plant, or roughly 1 Jar per plant, assuming using Speed Gro.


                                In your first year, Hops is obviously king, but it is pretty much the most micro-intensive crop in existence. Hops Starters are dirt cheap at 60g/ea, and once fully grown they produce hops daily, which can be brewed into Pale Ale which sells for 420g/ea with Artisan perk. Remember that Pale Ale brews quickly, about the same time frame that most things are Jarred into preserves, so there is literally no reason to not Keg every last hops you grow for simply MASSIVE profits.

                                Even with the lousy interface slowing you down, I just don't see any other crop being even remotely as profitable as Hops in your first year. However, assuming you want to limit your Hops production due to limitations of the mobile interface, the next best option for you would be Melons. Normally, I'd say Blueberries, but they would require more work. Blueberries only get Jarred, because Wine and Preserves costs are identical and it takes less time to produce Preserves, but if you have problems with all the harvesting, you probably just want to go Melons, which are almost as profitable per season but only produce two harvests per season. Melon Preserves go for 770g/ea and Wine goes for 1050g/ea. That's a substantial bump, so I'd generally Keg it. You'll need one Keg for every two Melons planted to keep up with demand.

                                In the second year and beyond, again assuming you haven't filled up your planting area with Ancient Fruit, you'll want to make a trip to see Sandy at the end of Spring and stock up on Starfruit seeds, because if you don't want to do hops, they're going to be your best bet. As it is the most expensive fruit in the game, on a per-item basis, you obviously want to Keg them, since they have the highest added value for kegging over jarring of any processed product in the game. Like Melons, you'll need one keg per two plants.


                                Sucks. If you don't want to deal with the spam-a-lot Cranberries, your only other option are Pumpkins, which are a vegetable instead of a fruit, and so the profit margin difference between kegging and jarring is far smaller. Assuming Artisan, pickled pumpkin costs 966g/ea and juice sells for 1008, so go ahead and jar them. You only need one jar per four or five Pumpkins. Make that eight or ten if you don't mind processing over Winter.

                                Second year gives you no better options.


                                Greenhouse produces year 'round, and this is where you are going to have to make some tough choices. The most profitable item to plant, by almost an order of magnitude, are Peach/Pomegranate trees. The preserves sell for 461g/ea, while the wine sells for 588g/ea. However, they produce *daily*, so you'll need to visit every day to collect your tree-borne fruit. You can skip a day or two, since it can hold up to three at a time, but it's still going to be massively micro-managing. The tradeoff is that even the preserves will beat out any other option by a margin. For kegging, you'll need seven kegs per tree, for jarring you'll need roughly two to three jars per tree. You can only plant 30 trees in your Greenhouse, so it should be manageable enough.

                                The next most profitable in the Greenhouse is Hops, which brews into pale ale, DAILY, for 420g/ea/day. You'll want two to three jars per hops. However, that involves a BUNCH of micro-managing which is going to run into problems on your mobile device, so this isn't a particularly desirable outcome for you.

                                Failing that, the next most profitable is Ancient Fruit. Now, here's where some caveats come in. Ancient Fruit grows weekly, which means you need exactly one keg per plant, but since you probably aren't going to want to do Hops, this is going to be your best long-term bet. But you might also want to store them back to plant outside on Spring 1. I'd go over how much space you want to give them outside, and make sure you get that many by Spring, and then start kegging the rest. As it is the second most expensive fruit you can grow, you definitely want to be kegging, not jarring, as it is a 700g difference between preserves and wine. Still, at 2310g/week, that comes down to 330g/day, as compared to the trees 461/day just from Preserves or 588/day from wine, or Hops' 420g/day.

                                If you want to minimize your clicking, just fill up your greenhouse with 116 Ancient Fruit. You'll lose out on about a million gold per season, but it'll be nice and simple for your interface to handle. You'll just have to dedicate one day per week to 'ancient fruit day', and you'll still be clearing a million per season just from the greenhouse alone.

                                After your second year, you really should be doing nothing but Ancient Fruit outside, if your goal is to minimize your number of harvests. You'll be harvesting weekly from the last week of Spring (assuming Deluxe Speed Gro) and weekly thereafter. It'll be more profitable than Starfruit, much less Melons, and it will absolutely beat the pants off of anything you can grow in Fall. Even if that means taking multiple weekly harvests in the Winter and running them through the Seed Makers to plant on the first of Spring.
                                • One More Day

                                  One More Day Cosmic Narwhal

                                  Especially if the aim is to reduce clicking, trying for gold parsnips is probably not going to be worth the bother. Pumpkins are going to be the main fall crop anyway, and you'll get plenty of gold pumpkins without any special effort, so just use a few of those for the Quality Crops Bundle instead, alongside corn and melons. The tiny bit extra money it'll cost is going to be inconsequential by fall, but the time and effort of getting gold parsnips could be better directed at something else, probably either mining for ore for sprinklers, or chopping trees and clearing space for summer.

                                  If you are determined to go for gold parsnips, planting blocks of 40 isn't necessary, especially as the crop quality bug was fixed ages ago. Trying for gold parsnips early in Spring, before your Farming level is up, risks not getting 5x gold parsnips and then having to replant more of them, which is a bit of a disaster from the point of view of efficient use of time and energy (and clicks). Wait until the end of Spring instead. Assuming you reach Farming 6 near the end of Spring, if the parsnips were fertilized, and are the last thing harvested, 26% should be gold. In theory, 20 is enough, but if you want to play safe you should be absolutely fine with 30.
                                  • Skinflint

                                    Skinflint Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                                    Outstanding run-down and very helpful, thanks! I didn't know Ancient Fruit existed so that wasn't factored into my thinking up to now—no worries, BTW, I'm not too precious about spoilers ;-)

                                    Your recommendations under my mobile constraints turn out in fact to be right in line with what I've actually done over the course of my 1st 3 years (I'm just now starting year 4 Spring) roughly in emphasis, losing a good year or so overall due to my playing completely blind until the middle of year 3, so it's gratifying to learn I've landed largely on the same page as a seasoned expert :) I probably won't delve into Speed-Grow until next year.

                                    Below is a productivity digest of my playthrough to explain my perspective on your prescriptions, FWIW. Thanks again for a comprehensive tailoring of your expertise for mobile constraints!


                                    Y1 Spring:
                                    • parsnips (since they were free)
                                    • lucked into strawberries blind - had happened to save my money; suspected their limited availability meant they were good
                                    • pleasantly surprised by kale
                                    • small tests of potatoes and cauliflower - blind so had no idea cauliflower would fetch such a handsome sum, then because their growth takes so long I couldn't capitalize on the knowledge very well once gleaned
                                    • tulip & blue jazz to test - blind, so clueless about artisan honey
                                    Failed to grasp that Field Snack grants more energy until the middle of year 3 *facepalm* I therefore could never mine enough coal to get honey going in any significant capacity my 1st year, try as I might.

                                    I severely compounded my Field Snack negligence by also failing to tap trees, unaware tappers can be moved and too worried to what I thought was commit to on-site trees nor test if taps could in fact be moved, which hamstrung my ability to craft Kegs in quantity due to needing Oak Resin until well into year 3, as well as made coal scarce even after receiving a Charcoal Kiln and the ability to craft my own, because it was exacerbated by my using what coal I did have to facilitate my emphasis on honey since I felt like that, at least, I did understand, still blind about Kegs and Jars.

                                    So much time wasted that 1st year blundering around learning the map, able to see so little at once on my iPod! I did manage to forage quite a bit for supplemental income, particularly by stumbling across the ripe berry days for salmonberry and then in Fall for blackberry.

                                    Y1 Summer:
                                    • blueberries galore
                                    • a few melons to test - again, being blind I couldn't plant more in time
                                    • sunflower, potato, and corn to test
                                    • both Summer Spangle and poppies to test
                                    • I hate green beans and cabbage (especially red) IRL so capriciously ignored them
                                    Failing to understand Field Snack also meant I couldn't chop enough wood to fertilize with sap, so I was 1 gold melon short of the Preserves Jar bundle my 1st year (the Artisan bundle's Keg was still out of reach anyway because I felt nowhere near ready to tackle raising animals, and fruit trees weren't ready yet), leaving me blind to the whole purpose until well into year 2.

                                    Y1 Fall:
                                    • cranberries galore
                                    • pumpkins to test - I did catch enough of a clue from melons to try quite a few
                                    • Fairy Rose to test
                                    • grapes- thinking they'd be my twin to cranberry, I was blind-sided by the fact that their trellises block traversal, so lost a few to inaccessibility (feeling too apprehensive about my prospects to replant given my severely constrained finances)
                                    • thinking it had to be a wise investment, I spent almost all my money on fruit trees
                                    I didn't realize Chests were a thing until inventory management drove me to investigate my options despite having unlocked the ability to craft them long beforehand; by then I had sold basically everything and being blind I had no clue you could save in Chests without spoilage let alone that Kegs and Preserves were means for later processing and upped prices.

                                    My fruit tree play strangled my 2nd year's yields because I had not closely tracked the cost of seeds, and failed to factor out how all the free parsnips gave such a boost toward affording subsequent seasons' seeds.

                                    Y1 Winter:
                                    • finally got around to mining some coal but still not nearly enough
                                    Year 2 was grim. I hated the game so much and couldn't conceive of how millions of people seemed to have had fun with it (don't even get me started on fishing!). I could barely keep my head above water and kept dashing to the store for seeds as soon as I could afford them. I strung myself along on foraging and honey.

                                    I did try red cabbage and Hops but still could hardly ferment anything so remained blind to their true profitability. A modest test of corn; found it low yield and high maintenance for its footprint despite lasting 2 seasons. Yam seemed potentially promising but by then I couldn't afford a decent trial. Bok choy and wheat were afterthoughts. I hate eggplant with a passion IRL so avoided it out of spite. Seed Maker unlocked just in time to salvage Fall since I hadn't been able to afford a full deployment of cranberries initially! Micro-trials of artichoke and amaranth I was able to pickle were promising stand-out's I mentally dog-eared for next year as back-up if I couldn't otherwise get enough cauliflower and red cabbage to keep my anticipated future fleet of fermenters fully occupied overwinter (I had started by now to see blueberries and cranberries as less worthwhile due to interface constraints).

                                    Chiefly due to my neglect of Field Snacks, I could hardly imagine how I would ever escape desperately scampering around for the privilege of earning a pittance that scarcely covered the cost of seeds, but I figured that grinding out investments in equipment would surely prove enough to turn things around, otherwise too many games would had to have similarly been ended badly for Stardew to have caught on like it has. Then I discovered sprinklers. Even without Field Snacks, sprinklers granted sufficient reprieve for me to glimpse (rather than merely theorize) a light at the end of the tunnel.

                                    I made a disastrous tactical error by failing to distinguish between Speed-Grow and fertilizer; I thought Speed-Grow _was_ a type of fertilizer since they look so similar. The money I wasted thinking Speed-Grow would skyrocket my net income from higher quality produce was unwittingly squandored on crops that wouldn't even have time for any additional harvest; I also didn't know it would last only 1 season (even when soil stays ploughed!). The fact that the description mentioned only faster growth made no indication to my mind that that growth would be entirely devoid of enhanced quality!

                                    I was extra cash-strapped by committing to try donating everything new to Gunther in case his rewards proved somehow pivotal. I became progressively more exasperated as they turned out to be almost exclusively cosmetic.

                                    I did at least claw my way deep enough into the mines to finally start getting gold and was able to scrounge up enough to start crafting Quality Sprinklers. The additional room between sprinklers let me integrate trellis crops as a corner 3 on one side, 2 on the other in the sprinkler grid by Fall, but grapes sell for so little it was a dud (still mostly blind on Kegs).

                                    The exact details of year 2's selections are honestly murky in my mind because it was all such a train-wreck, to the point I have merely sketched it rather than giving a seasonal break-down, but by Fall, aggressively foraging the ripe wild berry days let me complete the Community Center's Vault bundle (the priciest elements of which I had bought toward the end of year 1 (prior to the fruit trees)) to repair the bus whereupon I discovered Starfruit but planted only 1 as a test. Like my 1st year of melons, by the time I learned Starfruit's price it was too late to plant more. Still, I had managed (barely) to set myself on stable enough financial footing to make a proper start of year 3's crop.

                                    At some point by then I'd opted for the mushroom cave and discovered they are edible as-is, so that helped quite a bit with the energy problem even still being clueless about Field Snacks.

                                    The problem was, though, I also hadn't realized that luck is an official thing in Stardew (though had definitely noticed its effects), so even if I could get to the mines, I found it such a counter-productive crap-shoot that my coal problem persisted. It didn't help my mental clarity that the same numbered floor could yield radically different results; only after a while did I conclude it's procedural and simply swung wildly across a stridently divergent range of hospitableness. I avoided the TV completely since I hate it IRL and found its presence in a farming game to be unwelcome, so remained clueless about fortune telling's correlation with luck. This let my equipment problems fester well into year 3, despite Charcoal Kilns and mushrooms for tree-chopping energy, thanks to my earlier tapper problem prolongued by troubles mining: without mining there could be scarcely any more coal and absolutely no more copper (Clint's ore effectively was preposterously expensive); without copper, there could be no more tappers; without tappers there could be no more Kegs; without substantially more coal there could be no more honey or Jars; without chopping, there could be no short-cut to coal via my Kilns, undercutting any time I would have otherwise spent scratching away at the towering granite edifice of unlucky indifference toward mining progress. It was a mess.

                                    Y3 Spring:
                                    • cauliflower galore
                                    • potatoes until more strawberry seeds from the mid-season festival
                                    • supplemental kale
                                    • dabbled with sunflowers since multi-yield and seeds afterward - still unable to afford to fertilize widely, sunflowers wound up barely registering a blip on my fiscal radar, plus were an awful lot of harvest overhead for such low priced yield
                                    • food buffs I lucked into (I think from the Traveling Cart?) increased ripe wild salmonberry forage yield to 500-ish, plus by then I'd upgraded my axe again and discovered The Secret Grove with its bevy of bountiful berry bushes
                                    • fewer flowers to better concentrate on main known successes (still blind to artisan honey)
                                    Finally I had discovered Chests and Jars/Kegs and learned spoilage is not a thing in Stardew, so socked everything away rather than sell it fresh. Mid-season I finally tried a Field Snack and commenced kicking myself for having failed to sooner. I reluctantly chopped some of my farm's beautiful wild trees down so I could finally try sap fertilizer, which I had dismissed since it sounded and looked so insignificant, and until Field Snacks I couldn't possibly have spared the energy to chop wood (or, marginally, slay slimes) for it anyhow (mushrooms notwithstanding, on balance against mining's priority), plus year 2 was such a disaster I saw its unknown as a bad bet at the time, blind to its remarkable effectiveness.

                                    I still couldn't craft enough fermenters to turn much of my Spring crop over yet.

                                    Y3 Summer:
                                    • all the Starfruit I could afford - which was only 1 harvest for about 2/3rds of my fertilized planting plots
                                    • melons galore
                                    • a few blueberries to help ensure my Kegs/Jars wouldn't sit idle over Winter (I felt too frazzled to properly track ferment times to determine just how many)
                                    • dabbled in corn and hot peppers
                                    • continued to ignore radish and tomato
                                    • mopped up end-of-season with wheat
                                    At last I started venturing online to hazard spoiling the game now that I felt I understood its terms and had questions of my own I didn't have the patience to allow answers to passively unfold for myself. I learned about luck and the TV. I was able to craft tappers, then Kegs, then more Jars, and more Bee Houses which I also learned could create artisan honey. Heading into Fall, I knew my long self-imposed blind-play nose-dive was over for good.

                                    Year 3 Fall:
                                    • pumpkins galore
                                    • Fairy Rose honey galore - astonishingly lucrative for something that, if sprinklers tend the flowers, is entirely passive post seed sow
                                    • pedal-to-the-metal pickling my cauliflower and fermenting my starfruit
                                    • modest trial of beets was uninspiring though now that they can be turned into sugar they may become a priority
                                    • quite a few yams to shore up my Jars queue just in case
                                    • grapes in the corner configuration again
                                    • mop-up with wheat
                                    Year 3 Winter:
                                    • mining, chopping, fermenting, and finally gritting my teeth through fishing
                                    I'm over $900K heading into year 4 and just beforehand finished building a shed stuffed to the gills with 61 Kegs, which is still ludicrously overmatched by my literal thousands of fruits and berries *lol* From famine to feast, I guess *shrug* Like I said, I wasn't really tracking fermentation times so have wound up drastically over-shooting, although by the time Winter ends perhaps I'll have crafted enough more Kegs/Jars that I really will have turned over all that stock.

                                    Were it not for my steadfast adherence to an unhurried, blind playthrough and my uninquisitiveness toward aspects of the game and produce in which I felt no interest, most of my travail would have been obviated. Still, I have no regrets. I wanted to come to terms with the game in my own way, and that I did. But now I want to learn the game's own and decide how I'd like to splice my priorities through its gameplay prism, as filtered by my device and the interface thereupon. Pinning down the exact details of productivity is necessary bedrock for my deliberative process. I look forward to experimenting with trade-off's secure in the knowledge of their relative merits without first needing to devote myself to gleaning that information, so I thank you again cordially for an excellent treatise on the subject, and particularly for torquing it to touch for me—and so promptly.
                                      Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
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                                    • Skinflint

                                      Skinflint Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                                      Thing is, all 4 of those different crops are required for the bundle. But your subsequent assessment of gold parsnip odds' trade-off's is still valid, particularly if that 26% statistic is hard-and-fast even with Basic Fertlizer. In practice I'd probably simply fertilize everything as prep for the overall season, but the opportunity cost of planting all 40 parsnips above the necessary 20-30 could indeed, it seems, be reclaimed and directed toward something more profitable (I'm sure Shneeky was just trying to simplify for me). Mental notes for subsequent playthroughs :)
                                      • One More Day

                                        One More Day Cosmic Narwhal

                                        Not quite. There are four possible choices (Parsnips, Melons, Corn and Pumpkins) for the Quality Crops Bundle, but you only need three of them to complete it, your choice which one to drop.
                                        • Skinflint

                                          Skinflint Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                                          Perhaps that was the case for your playthrough but it was changed in an update? I notice the Wiki here says 3 whereas Wikia says all 4, which I could swear was what I had to do in my playthrough on iOS which just came out a couple weeks ago now. Either way, your input was helpfully instructive *polite bow*

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