K S Lane is a video game enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips and tricks about her favourite games.
A big part of starting a successful Stardew Valley farm is choosing the right crops to plant. However, the sheer variety of seeds on offer can leave new players feeling confused about what the correct options are. There are lots of different things to consider; finding the right balance between planting crops that are necessary for completing bundles, crops that make lots of money, and crops that give multiple harvests is a challenge. To help take some of the mystery away, this article lists the best (and worst) Stardew Valley crops for each season. Taking potential earnings, the time required to grow the crop, and the potential uses of the eventual produce into account, this is a great guide for new players trying to optimize their first few years in Stardew Valley.
Best "Stardew Valley" Crop for Each Season
|Crop||Season||Minimum Profit per Seed|
220g (28 days)
350g (13 days)
510g (28 days)
Best "Stardew Valley" Spring Crops
Here is a look at the best Spring crops.
Green beans are the very first multi-harvest crop that you're exposed to when you start your Stardew Valley farm. This means that after your first green bean harvest ten days after planting, you'll be able to harvest again every three days. While multi-harvest crops do need to be watered all season, which takes precious energy, the profit they bring in is well worth the hassle. Every green bean plant will net you 220g in profit which can be put to use by buying more crops or developing your farm.
Green beans are also required to complete the 'Spring Crops' bundle, which is an added bonus of planting them nice and early. Many villagers have green beans as a 'liked' gift and once you upgrade your house and get a kitchen you can use two of them to make 'bean hotpot,' which is a good source of energy and is a 'loved' gift for Demetrius. An important note about green beans is that they're a trellis crop, meaning that unlike other crops you can't walk through the tile that they're planted on. Take this into account when choosing a planting configuration!
Strawberries are a unique crop for many reasons. For one, the profit that you can make off of a single strawberry plant is unparalleled in any of the other spring crops. Assuming you planted a strawberry seed at the start of the season, you'd see a massive minimum 610g profit per plant, which is one of the highest net profits in the game.
In a perfect world, a player could just spend all of their money on strawberry seeds on the first of spring and then sit back and watch the dough roll in. However, strawberry seeds are also special in that they're only sold on one particular day; the egg festival, which takes place on the 13th of Spring. The best strategy to get through Spring in Stardew Valley is to save up money until the 13th and then buy as many strawberry seeds as you can. However, this reduces your profit to 140g per plant, which is why strawberries rank under green beans.
As an added bonus, Demetrius and Maru both love to receive strawberries as gifts (a family trait?) so if you want to befriend them quickly, having a stack of strawberries in your inventory is a big help.
Rhubarb seeds can only be purchased from The Oasis store in the Desert, an area which the vast majority of players won't unlock in their first Spring. However, their cash-generating ability means that they easily earn their spot on this list. For each seed you plant, you'll receive a net 120g in profits, which is a significant amount. The seeds also only take 13 days to grow, which is an advantage.
Rhubarb isn't used in any bundles or quests and isn't a 'loved' gift item for any character, meaning that the best use of the crop really is just to sell it. However, if you've planted a big crop, throwing some of your low-quality rhubarb together with some wheat flour and sugar will get you a rhubarb pie, which Jodi and Maru both list as a 'loved' gift.
Cauliflowers are one of the more expensive Spring crops that you can buy from Pierre's. Each seed will cost you 80g, which is a fair amount when you're just starting out. However, they'll net you a decent profit and unlike rhubarb and strawberries are available from the very first day. Taking 12 days to mature, each cauliflower will bring in a net 95g of profit, which is nothing to turn your nose up at.
Cauliflowers are also one of three crops that has a special property; the ability to grow into giant crops. To make this happen, try planting a 3x3 square of cauliflower seeds and cross your fingers. If you're lucky, after 12 days you'll end up with a giant cauliflower, which will take up the full 9 squares and, once mined, will break down into at least 15 separate cauliflowers, massively increasing your profit.
Even if you'd rather go for green beans or save up your money for strawberries, planting at least a small crop of cauliflowers during your first spring is a smart idea. At least one cauliflower is essential to complete the Spring Crops bundle and cauliflowers are one of Maru's 'loved' gifts.
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Best "Stardew Valley" Summer Crops
Here are the best Summer crops.
Aside from the venerated sweet gem berries, starfruit are the most valuable crop in Stardew Valley, making it an ideal choice for planting. Planting one starfruit will net you a massive minimum of 350g in profit after a growth time of 13 days.
If you're patient, you can also massively increase your profit by turning your starfruit into wine- this will net you a minimum total profit of 1,750 gold per bottle. As you can imagine, planting a large crop of starfruit is going to generate you some serious cash. Therefore, many players prefer to cultivate starfruit in the Greenhouse, so that they can grow the cash-crop year-round.
However, like rhubarb, starfruit have a catch; their seeds can only be purchased from The Oasis store in the Desert. Because of this, players often don't have access to starfruit seeds in their first year. Another drawback of starfruit is that the seeds cost a massive 400g, which is more expensive than any other seed type in the game (except for rare seeds). If you have plenty of cash or if you have a seed-maker then this shouldn't be too much of a problem, but players who don't have much in the bank will only be able to plant a few starfruit at a time.
Blueberries are another multi-harvest crop and are a great choice for mass planting during the Summer. Blueberry seeds can be purchased from Pierre's store for just 80g, meaning that buying up a lot of seeds to plant a big crop isn't too much of a challenge. Blueberries take 13 days to mature and will give you a harvest of 3 blueberries every 4 days after. This makes them one of the best crops in the game, with a minimum net profit of 520g per plant over the season.
Making blueberries into wine or jelly will triple their value and increase your profits even further. However, if you plant even a moderate amount of blueberry seeds you'll probably find yourself with several hundred blueberries at the end of the season, and unless you have a huge number of preserves jars and casks turning all of your harvest into artisan goods will take a long time. Therefore, it's recommended to sell all of the gold and silver quality blueberries and just use the low-quality ones for making jelly and wine.
As a bonus, you need a blueberry to complete the Summer Crops bundle, meaning that planting even one blueberry seed is a smart idea.
Compared to some of the other Summer crops, peppers aren't actually all that valuable. Planting one pepper plant will net you 280g profit in a season, with harvests being available every 3 days.
Despite their average money-making abilities, peppers are a great crop to plant. This is because they have a special perk; they're a loved item for two characters, Mayor Lewis and Shane. Multiple other characters, including Harvey, Leah, and Elliott, like peppers, while almost no one dislikes them. Because of this, having a stack of peppers in your inventory to use as gifts is a smart idea.
Another benefit of peppers is the fact that pepper seeds aren't as pricey as most other multi-harvest seed types. They only cost 40g, which means that you can plant a huge crop without hurting your bank balance too much. For players in their first summer, this is a big plus.
As an added bonus, you need a pepper to complete the 'Summer Crops' bundle and peppers feature in a few different quests. For these reasons, having at least a small crop of peppers is a great idea.
Melons are an often-overlooked crop, but are also one of the best choices you can make for summer planting. One melon seed will get you a minimum of 170g in profits, which is a reasonable amount of money given that the growth time for melons is only 12 days. Like cauliflowers, melons also have the ability to form giant crops if you plant them in a 9x9 grid, which means that there's a potential for the profit to be boosted by a lot.
Additionally, melons feature in both the Summer Crops and Quality Crops bundles. Because of this, having a good-sized crop of melons is important if you haven't yet completed these bundles. To enhance your chances of growing gold-star melons for the Quality Crops bundle, try planting your seeds with at least some basic fertilizer.
Melons are a 'loved' gift for Penny. They're also used (along with wheat flour, sugar, and an egg) to make Pink Cake, which is one of the best gifts in the whole game. The children, Vincent and Jas, both love pink cakes, as do Haley and Marnie.
Best "Stardew Valley" Fall Crops
Here are the best Fall crops.
Cranberries are widely acknowledged to be one of the best crops in Stardew Valley. Planting a cranberry seed on the first or second day of fall will allow for five separate harvests, with two cranberries growing each time. This results in a minimum profit of 510g per cranberry plant.
If you can be bothered waiting, putting your cranberries in a preserve jar will net you 200g per cranberry jelly. However, this is only recommended for low-quality cranberries; simply selling the silver and gold star ones is a more efficient use of time and will still net you an incredible profit.
Unfortunately, cranberries aren't used in any bundles and no villagers love them as gifts. However, they can be used to make Cranberry Candy, which is a 'loved' gift for Vincent and a liked gift for most others. Cranberries are also used in the Cranberry Sauce recipe, which gives you a boost to your mining skill, and in the Super Meal recipe, which increases your max energy and is a 'loved' gift for Harvey.
Like cranberries, grapes are a multi-harvest crop that has the potential to yield serious cash. Each grape seed, which grows on a trellis, will cost you 60 gold and will give you a minimum net profit of 500g per plant over the season.
At least one grape is needed to complete the Community Centre (grapes are featured in the Summer Foraging bundle) but given that grapes are a forgeable item in Summer, it's not necessary to grow them. Grapes also aren't used in any recipes, meaning that selling them or making them into wine is their best use.
However, if you have a big crop and nothing to do with it, it's useful to know that grapes are also a 'loved' gift of Vincent and most other villagers at least 'like' them (except for Penny, who strangely 'hates' them). This makes them a good option to hand out to people.
In contrast to the other fall crops on the list, Pumpkins can only be harvested once. However, they still generate a lot of gold and have plenty of uses, making them a great crop choice. Each pumpkin planted will earn you a net minimum 220g in profit after 13 days. Like melons and cauliflowers, pumpkins have the special ability to grow into a giant crop if planted in a 9x9 square, which means that there's a chance that your profit margin will be increased.
Pumpkins are necessary for both the Fall Crops bundle and the Quality Crops bundle. Five gold-star pumpkins are needed for the latter, so make sure to use fertilizer when planting your pumpkin seeds to maximize your chance of high-quality produce. Abigail, Krobus, and Willy all list pumpkins as a 'loved' gift and almost all of the other characters 'like' pumpkins, making them one of the best gifts in the game. Additionally, they can be used to make Autumn's Bounty, which Mayor Lewis 'loves,' and Pumpkin Soup, which Sebastian 'loves.'
Given their popularity among the Stardew Valley Characters, it's strongly recommended to plant a decent crop of pumpkins if you want to increase your friendship levels quickly.
Eggplant seeds are much cheaper than the other fall crops on this list but will still generate a fair amount of cash, making them a good choice for players in their first year. Each eggplant seed, which you can get from Pierre's store for just 20g, will net you a minimum profit of 280g over a full season.
Eggplants are used in the Fall Crops Bundle, meaning that it's essential that you grow at least one plant. Most characters list eggplant as a 'liked' gift. Two recipes utilize an eggplant, the Survival Burger, which is a 'loved' gift for Emily, and Eggplant Parmesan, which is a 'loved' gift for Jodi.
Special Crops in "Stardew Valley"
Here is a look at some special crops.
Sweet Gem Berries (Rare Seeds)
Sweet gem berries, which grow from rare seeds, are the most profitable crop in Stardew Valley. Each rare seed, which cost 1000g and can be purchased from the Traveling Cart in Cindersnap Forest on Fridays and Sundays, will net the player a huge minimum profit of 2,000g.
Sweet gem berries are technically a Fall crop- they won't grow outside in any other season. They take 24 days to grow, so make sure to plant your rare seeds in the first four days of Fall to allow enough time. However, most players prefer to cultivate a crop of sweet gem berries in their Greenhouse instead. This means that the berries can grow during any season, which significantly increases their usefulness.
At least one sweet gem berry is necessary for the quest given to you by Master Cannoli in the Secret Woods, which you'll unlock after upgrading your axe to iron. The reward from this quest is just about the best reward you can receive in the game, so it definitely shouldn't be ignored.
Ancient Fruit (Ancient Seeds)
Ancient seeds are one of the most difficult items to obtain in Stardew Valley. They're classed as an artifact and can either be found by hoeing or through monster loot drops. Once obtained, the singular ancient seed isn't yet plantable- it needs to be donated to Gunther, who in turn will gift you with the ancient seeds recipe. Then, you'll need to find another ancient seed to be able to craft the plantable seeds and finally get a crop going. Alternatively, plantable ancient seeds are sometimes found in the Travelling Cart, although the chance of this happening is very low, and there's a similarly low chance of ancient seeds appearing in a Seedmaker when you put a different crop in.
Ancient fruit plants are a multi-harvest crop and will grow during Spring, Summer, or Fall. However, since they're so difficult to obtain and also take 28 days to reach maturity, the best strategy is to plant them in your Greenhouse. After the plant reaches maturity it will give you one ancient fruit every week. Assuming that you found your ancient seed rather than purchasing it, this means that in a year one ancient fruit plant will give a total minimum profit of 7,150g.
While most crops only see a doubling in their value after they're made into wine, ancient fruit actually triples in value. This means that it's well worth putting your harvest into kegs and waiting a bit longer to make wine. If you do this and if you get a large crop of ancient fruit growing in your Greenhouse, you'll start generating some serious gold. Most experienced Stardew Valley players will use this strategy to take them right through to the end of the game.
© 2021 K S Lane