What is the best crop in each season to make the most amount of money?

Eemeena

Cowpoke
I'm not sure if it's true but I heard potatoes for spring and blue berries for summer were best. If this is true what is the best for fall? If not what are the best crops? I feel odd asking this question since I had Stardew Valley from release day on PS4.
 

imnvs

Local Legend
See, the problem is that some people rate different high-profit items differently. The biggest example is Hops. Hops produces daily, and a lot of them can become a LOT of pale ale which is a drastic increase to the value of the item... and it requires a LOT of work and a LOT of kegs. Tile for tile, though, Hops is the most profitable crop you can plant provided you're turning it all into Pale Ale. Then there's the Ancient Fruit strategy which is also highly profitable, but much less work is required for you to keep the system running. Ancient Fruit can be planted Spring 1 and will last all the way until Fall 28, fyi, so they are a good contender for EVERY season as a result. Of course there's always Starfruit too. I mean... it's never just a simple, "What is best?" You know?
 

Shiztastic

Greenhorn
Only considering what is available from Pierre/Joja year one and selling them outright:

Spring - Potatoes
Summer - Blueberries
Fall - Cranberries

Seeds from other sources like the Oasis, Festivals, Pierre/Joja year two, Traveling Cart, and monster drops can overtake these crops. Processing your crops via Keg/Preserves Jar can also cause some crops to outperform others.

The wiki has this page to provide base comparisons:


Note that the wiki contains spoilers, so research at your own risk.
 
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Worblehat

Planter
This tool might be helpful.

In fall Y1 I did a mix of cranberries and pumpkins (plus a few seeds of each of the other crops because in this game you always need a little bit of everything). I was just starting to get kegs and pumpkin juice is very lucrative. Also, if you're still in late summer and planning ahead for fall, be sure to hit the Traveling Cart for Rare Seeds.
 

One More Day

Planter
Paging @ShneekeyTheLost for the full run down

Meanwhile, here's the tl;dr version of what I'd personally recommend to plant as a solid money maker main crop, without going crazy with minmax strats

For year 1
  • Spring - parsnips on day 1, potatoes on day 6, parsnips again day 12, then strawberries on day 16 (strawberry seeds must be bought at egg festival on day 13)
  • Summer - blueberries
  • Fall - pumpkin


And for year 2, all planted with deluxe speed gro bought from Sandy
  • Spring - rhubarb on day 1, garlic on day 10, strawberries on day 13 (straight after getting home from the egg festival)
  • Summer - starfruit
  • Fall - pumpkin again
After year 2 you can go a number of ways. By year 3, you might be ready to start Spring with a decent number of ancient fruit. Or maybe you could afford to hold on to enough strawberry seeds from the second egg festival, to plant on Spring 1 and get a full season of them, instead of having to wait until Spring 13.
For Summer, you might have plenty of kegs and can start to crank out pale ale from hops every day.
For Fall, sadly this is always a disappointing season, and if you didn't go for ancient fruit then pumpkins remain the best option; cranberries just aren't worth all the extra effort for so little extra reward



Notes
Spring is always changing crops because you want to take maximum advantage of the strawberry seeds, which can only be purchased at the egg festival on day 13.

In Fall, cranberries are technically fractionally better money than pumpkins in the first year, but the 240g buyin per seed is a major drawback in year 1, as are the three extra harvests, and in my opinion, that extra upfront cost and additional work isn't worth it for only a few percent more money; also, pumpkins can become giant crops, which would offset that tiny financial difference anyway.
 
I like doing cranberries in the fall as they tend to drop 3 per harvest that with the other advise of parsnips/tulips for spring and blueberries for summer you should be able to make kegs and jars by fall.

Also remember to check the weather daily so you know to take you watering can to Clint on the day before it rains to maximize the growth of your plants
 
Ahem...

For your first year, in Spring, Cauliflower is technically the most profitable, barring the strawberries from the egg festival half-way through. However, there's a limit to how many cauli you can get down in the first half of the month while you're also desperately trying to get all your other infrastructure down, so potatoes are quite viable as well. So, I'd say the number one pick is Strawberries (especially if you can sneak in some Speed-Gro for a third harvest, but even if not it's still two yields which is quite good), then Cauli, then Potatoes. Special mention to Parsnips, the worst yield but fastest iteration crop in the game, never try to use them to get money, but if you can get 5x gold-star parsnips in the first half of the season, it saves you from having to Mass Pumpkin in the fall. Also shout-out to Bean Sprout which, if planted on Day 1, is actually more profitable than even Cauliflower. Of course, getting one down on Day One is... challenging. But you'll want at least one for your bundle completion anyway. Kale deserves a special mention as it technically gives more xp than potatoes do, but potatoes have a chance of a second drop which, while it doesn't grant xp, does sell for more cash. If you're grinding xp, consider Kale as an alternative to mass potatoes, assuming you have at least one potato for the bundle.

For your first Summer, it will depend how much delving and farming you did in Spring. Specifically, how many Quality Sprinklers you managed to grab and how close you are to making Kegs. Because bar none, the most valuable crop you can get in your first summer is Hops... with the caveat that it assumes you are able to brew them all into Pale Ale. Melons are the second most valuable crop you can plant (assuming you haven't unlocked the Oasis and have access to Starfruit yet), and you'll want 5x Gold-Star Melons for your Quality Crops Bundle anyway, so plant away. Blueberries are a staple summer crop because they spam a metric ton of berries, which make excellent preserves. Assuming you have preserves jars available. The other cute little trick with blueberries is running them through a (or multiple) seed maker(s). You make, on average, more money off of the blueberry seeds than off of the raw fruit itself, plus you have a 0.5% chance of getting an Ancient Seed instead (and a 1% chance of getting Wild Seeds). If you haven't found an Ancient Seed in your mining delves yet, this is a way to 'force' an ancient seed for your Greenhouse next season. Don't forget at least one Hot Pepper and one Tomato plant for bundle completion's sake. Also make sure to put down at least one Sunflower, more if you have an interest in dating Haley. And you'll also want to plant Corn on Fertilizer, not for the cash (they're lousy for money) but again for getting 5x gold-star of them for bundle completion.

Fall is your worst season, sadly. Pumpkins and Cranberries are pretty much where it's at. If you complete your Kitchen bundles in this season and unlock the Greenhouse, you can get your industrial scale planting going. Pumpkins and Cranberries both do well in Preserves Jars. Red Gem Berries are kind of a trap. Yes, technically, they are worth 3,000 for the investment of 1,000 for a total profit of 2,000/ea. However, there's a strictly limited number of them available, only two per week in spring and fall, and that assumes you're spending that kind of cash in your first week. Plant one for the Stardrop, maybe a couple more if you have 'em, but they're going to be marginal at best. DO NOT attempt to propagate them in your greenhouse, you'll be losing out on millions per season by doing this with gem berries instead of ancient fruit.

Winter, obviously, you can't plant anything. You'll be subsisting on forage and animal products.

Some goals to aim for:

Spring: The easiest start is a 40 parsnip initial planting on Day 1. Take all the money in your pocket, invest in more parsnips. Watch your stamina and go easy on chopping things down or you might run out before you're done. Do some gathering, maybe some chopping... you're hoping to get Foraging 1 down by the end of the day. Ultimately, you'll want Foraging 6 by the end of the month so you can get Lightning Rods to ward off the damage from summer storms, but if you can manage Foraging 4 by Salmonberry Season, you can double your yield per bush. Once the initial 40 parsnips come up, plant at least one bean starter, one cauliflower, and 40 potatoes if you can afford them. Once the potatoes come up, hold off on planting more until you get 40 strawberry seeds from the festival, and make sure those go down before you go to sleep (hoe and water at the beginning of the day before you attend the festival so all you have to do is run and plant). At this point, salmonberry season starts, now would be a very good time to get your pick upgraded to Copper while you run around collecting as many salmonberries as possible, then spend the rest of the season diving the mines as hard as you can, aiming for level 80+ by the end of the season, at least some gold and a Fire Quartz obtained, and making Quality Sprinklers. Extra batches of 40x potatoes on top of the strawberries can make your profits and your farming skill go faster, but at the cost of stamina which you'll need to go mining. If you have sufficient salmonberries, it's a safe enough tactic.

You'll also want to consider a Silo, then a Coop and a pair of chickens. Ideally you want one white and one brown, for bundle completion's sake. Then get two more, and a couple of mayo machines. This will be consistent profit throughout the rest of your game. You'll want several sheds, plan on where you want to put them even though you probably can't afford any just yet.

You'll also need an Oak Tree stand, and you'll need it down *fast*. Like 30x oak trees planted by the end of your second week. To do this, never touch an oak tree until after you get at least Foraging skill 1, then shake any oak tree you pass by and hoe any seedling that drops near an oak tree. You'll also need tappers on them, preferably by the end of the month. Why? Because you're going to wanting to make Kegs on the industrial scale, and they require Oak Resin.

Summer (assuming you have at least Farming 6 and several Quality Sprinklers): 32 Hops, 40 Melons (on Fertilizer), 40 Blueberries (Speed-Gro will net you an extra harvest if you can manage it), 16 Corn, and whatever else you would like to plant. Generally, that means at least one Pepper, one Tomato, one Sunflower for bundles, maybe a Poppy if you have some apiaries you want to make more profitable, and whatever other assorted crops you'd like for either dating gifts or extra profit. Plant in circles of 8 around Quality Sprinklers. Make sure there's room enough to reach the Hops and surrounding crops, they block your movement. Also don't forget that this is a pretty hefty financial investment for all these seeds on Summer 1, don't go buying a backpack upgrade at the end of Spring and come up short. Your first blueberry harvest should be invested in a Shed to house either preserves jars or kegs. You can fit some 60ish in a basic Shed, and just over 120 in the Big Shed. 60 Preserves Jars would make blueberries WAY more profitable (they go from 50g/ea to 150g/ea, so triple profits!!!), but you really *really* want Kegs because Pale Ale is worth 300g/ea, and hops yields berries daily. You'll need two kegs per hops plant, so that'll be your 60ish kegs to fill a shed. If you can afford two sheds, one for kegs and one for jars is no bad way to start your infrastructure off.

You'll want a Barn to go with your Coop, and four cows, with at least two Cheese Makers to keep up with them. You should also do your best to upgrade it to a Big Barn and have at least one Goat. If you can manage a Deluxe Barn and a pig before the end of Summer, that would be ideal because you need the pig to grow up and produce a Truffle before the end of Fall since they can't produce in Winter. If you can luck into a Truffle from the Cart Vendor, this vastly simplifies your needs, and you can settle for a Big Barn. You'll also want a Big Coop and a Duck, both for the duck egg for the animal products bundle and the feather for the dyes bundle. A Deluxe Coop and a Rabbit would also be amazing, since they are stingy with their feet (which you will need not only for a bundle, but for a couple other spoiler-ish events I won't go into now).

Multiple sheds are the order of the day. You're going to ultimately want at least two sheds with kegs and one shed with preserve jars by the end of Fall, so if you have spare cash and Robin isn't already building something else for her, at least get more sheds down. Really, you'll want those two keg sheds upgraded to Big Sheds, but that can be done over winter.

Fall: Split the field evenly between Pumpkins and Cranberries, with a Yam and Eggplant for bundle's sake. Fairy Rose makes the most profitable honey if you have apiaries. Plant your Gem Berries as well. Oh, you'll also want 10 Wheat down for the fodder bundle. You can keep replanting them and brew it into beer.

The big part of Fall is preparing to shift gears. If you've done your bundles, you'll unlock the Kitchen and the Greenhouse by mid-fall (usually when the pumpkins come in). Hopefully by this point you've gotten access to either the Skull Caves and/or Korobus, because you're going to need a minimum of four Iridium Sprinklers (ideally six of them!) to minimize the amount of space you are taking up. Now is also when you need to decide if you are going to be using Peach or Pomegranate trees as a primary part of your income, or just a sideline. It's the most profitable thing (barring post-game spoiler content) to do in your greenhouse, but it also requires more micromanagement. It also requires a very hefty investment cost up-front if you're getting 30 trees. You'll have to wait until they are grown before infilling with Ancient Fruit and/or Hops, so it's more of a long-game approach. If you want a simple and easy Greenhouse that still will net you a million per season, just fill it with Ancient Fruit and live a one-day workweek lifestyle.

And, of course, more sheds for more kegs. Although at this point, you're probably upgrading existing sheds to put more kegs in them. 116 ancient fruit is 116 kegs needed to keep up with their weekly production once they're fully propagated. That's a full Big Shed by itself. Plus whatever you want to grow outside.

Winter: Continue propagating Ancient Fruit in your Greenhouse, at a steadily increasing geometric rate, until full. Continue harvesting animal products and expanding production facilities to handle Spring's upcoming increased demand on production of artisan goods.

Year Two and Onward:

Spring: Rhubarb is a pretty consistent money maker. If you have any strawberry seeds left over from last season, they're also profitable. Of course, Ancient Fruit will be the *MOST* profitable thing to plant outdoors for the year, as they will produce for all of Summer and Fall with no additional planting.

Summer: Hops infilled with Starfruit. Or, yanno, your Ancient Fruit, which will just now be fruiting.

Fall: Pumpkins and Cranberries. Or, again, the Ancient Fruit if you planted in spring.

Winter: Your Greenhouse still produces weekly, plus whatever your animals bring in.
 

Johndeere756

Sodbuster
In year 1, i like potatoes, blueberries and cranberries. In year 2, strawberries that I bought the previous year at the egg festival. By the 3rd, I am growing a lot of ancient fruit. Sometimes I just like to grow something different though, just for fun. Enjoyment is more important than gold for me.
 

Drullo321

Tiller
There is no clear answer because it all depends on the setup. There will be a difference if you compare it by money per tile:
  • Crops only
  • Processed crops (Jar, Keg)
  • Money per Time Investment or Pre-Investment (e.g. you need more kegs for hops then fruits)
 

Breech Loader

Farmhand
In Spring, you wanna plant yourself strawberries. In Summer, you want Blueberries. In Fall, you want Cranberries. These crops are all repeating and multi-harvest, and drop multiple berries. However in order to get good money from these repeating crops, you need Kegs or Preserves. LOTS of Kegs or Preserves. The nice thing is that you should have so many, you will be able to use them through growing periods and the winter.

The big thing is that as everybody says, there's no straight answer. On top of everything else it relies on your farm and strategy.

You'll never make good cash from Parsnips, but they are vital for your community service. If you are going for a first year greenhouse you will need to go heavy on them for your first year what with your farming level still being low. It's a nightmare, turning in those five gold Parsnips, but it's a cheaper option than turning in five gold Pumpkins.
 
Indeed it depends on what your goals are, and what you have to work with. That doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer, of course.

Everything you interact with can be thought of as a machine of some kind, whether labeled as such or not. You input time, energy, products, and / or money, and get as outputs products, which can of course be traded for money, as well as possibly skill XP.

You never get back the time, and the tile used to achieve the transformation can’t be used for anything else in the interim.

Since money begets money, and money can be traded for energy and sometimes input products, the faster it offers a return on investment the better, and of course the greater the return on investment the better.

So depending on our limitations and goals, we can optimize for return based on money per day per tile, time before return on investment, percentage return on investment, skill XP gain, or a number of other metrics. For me, I’m pretty much always either optimizing for money per day or XP gain.

The greatest money per day values are always going to be machines which are labeled as such. My goal is very often ‘how can I increase the number of machines I have, and how can I keep them fed’. Then, once that concern is addressed, it’s ‘what can I do with this space which is useful and doesn’t cost a lot of time or energy’. Given that, if I have room to plant crops which I’m not going to be able to process, priority one is getting enough sprinklers to not have to water them. If I don’t have the sprinklers, and it’s not going to be processed in a machine, my feeling is it should not be planted, not for financial return, anyway. So then I’ve got to look at why I don’t have sprinklers, and if the answer is my skill is too low, I’m optimizing for skill gain, XP per tile per day (or per energy, for non watered crops they’re equivalent anyway)

All that put together leads to the great debate, because it directly impacts what crops are best to plant, and what calculations you need to make to determine what you need as inputs: preserve jars vs kegs.

Preserve Jars are more expensive in terms of tiles - they require more input crops, and thus more sprinklers, they take more interactions, and all of this makes it hard to sustain them in large quantities.

Kegs are cheaper when built (harder to build of course) as far as tiles consumed and interactions required. They consume more time however, and in all cases, for all crops, offer a lower gold per day return for keeping them fed than preserve jars do.

Based on how limited you are or are not on input crops, either may be correct, and thus which one you should build depends on your priorities and the limitations of your farm elsewhere.

My general principle is for limited quantity, high value, low opportunity crops such as Starfruit or Ancient Fruit, I’ll use kegs because I can’t get enough of them to keep preserve jars fed, and I can build enough kegs to process all of them. Everything else I plant is based on how high a money per day value I get from the preserve jars in return, and how many of them I can push out in a season, balancing those to ensure each preserve jar gets 10 input crops per season, across as many jars as I can build.

Preserve jar gold per day value is on the wiki, here’s a link:


I’ll post a summary of a few standouts and my common options when I’m near a computer, but regardless it varies, it’s just ‘what can I grow to keep all my jars fed with the highest total gold per day value I can get out of them’. I know this isn’t really an answer to the question and is quite long, but I hope it helps, if only a little.
 

Worblehat

Planter
and in all cases, for all crops, offer a lower gold per day return for keeping them fed than preserve jars do.
Hops, Wheat, and Tea Leaves are exceptions. (Initially it looked like there were quite a lot of exceptions but I was looking at the Artisan Keg Productivity page vs. the non-Artisan Preserves Jar Productivity page...).
 
Those are very fair, and are making me do some pretty significant math hammering for what it's worth. Coffee I'm less worried about it being an imperfect exception than I am with how impossible it is to keep a keg fed with it. To keep 1 keg fed with coffee all year, would require 180 tiles worth of coffee plants, assuming all of them used deluxe speed gro. Though I prioritize machine productivity over tile efficiency in most cases, that's a little extreme. It actually is a pretty good representative example of why certain crops are better or worse in my eyes though based on relative consumption rates, because it doesn't matter if you can get 10 machines going at 1000 g/day, if you're consuming 1800 tiles to do so, and your other 90 machines are running dry as a result. If instead you had all 100 machines running, even if only processing cranberries at 50g/day each, you'd get substantially greater return.

I'll report back once I get some math done and rethink some things.
 

Breech Loader

Farmhand
Coffee is very labor-intensive (Two days to harvest, Two hours to brew!), but it can be fun to give a Coffee Plantation a shot one year and find out it's very profitable.
 

imnvs

Local Legend
Coffee can't be put into preserves jars, so there's no comparison to make.
Oh, I know, but the amount of cash you can get from coffee makes it so worth kegs.

When I first got my greenhouse I planted 24 coffee (since then I've incorporated pressure nozzles and upgraded to 25). That's an average of 50 coffee beans every day (in actuality it's 100 every 2 days). That averages to 10 cups of coffee per day. That comes out to 3&1/3 triple espresso per day. I usually only drink 1 or 2 per day... and yes, I do drink at least 1 every day.

The rest of my coffee saves up for when I get the Qi's Cuisine quest, because I can quite often fill that one with Triple Espresso alone.
 
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