Since the launch of Stardew Valley in February 2016, millions of players have given up the harsh daily grind of the city for the peaceful and idyllic lifestyle of farmers. But there is plenty to do in Stardew Valley, and without a clear farm plan in mind, it can seem like some goals are a long way off, even as you make steady progress and avoid passing out on the street at 2 a.m.
For farmers who have started using hoes and axes for several seasons but still feel like they have a long way to go, here’s a clear plan that explains how to transform your farm from a dilapidated mess to an upgraded operation.
1. Start with a blank slate
One of the most daunting tasks for new stardew valley keg players is the utter disaster of a farm that you start the game with. Left to the wild will of Mother Nature, your new farm is covered in trees, grass, rocks and all sorts of other debris, a far cry from some of the pristine creations in our Farm Gallery. Cleaning everything not only gives you a great sense of accomplishment, it also gives you a nice blank canvas to start with. But cleaning up your farm isn’t just a good move for new players, it’s also a good idea for players who randomly placed their first farm buildings and are now left with a disorganized and inefficient system to manage.
As with any large-scale overhaul, it’s easier to start from scratch and build over than to repair a broken system piece by piece. It may seem like going backwards, but the best way to start planning a well-organized farm is to let go of your emotions and burn it all down. Cut down the trees, break the rocks, sell your animals (having to deal with daily feeding, love and milking is just another distraction) and destroy all the buildings. The fresh slate of an empty farm is now our canvas.
2. Grow other things than crops
Stardew Valley is obviously a game about farming. But there are quite a few items that you will need, especially for our goal of total domination here, many of which cannot just be planted and cultivated. Wood and charcoal are two of the most valuable resources in building the machines that transmute your crops and other items into high-value handicrafts. And since machines take time to process, it’s best to have more to run at once. Wood – Okay, that one can be planted and grown, but I suggest doing it with a bit of purpose rather than letting nature run wild. I have found that a grid of trees with two spaces between them works best. It allows a high density of trees while leaving room for your horse to run between them.
Take the elevator up to level 50 (if you’re not there yet we’ll cover you shortly) and go through the next five or ten levels (collect iron ore along the way, we need that too) and then go back up the elevator on the level 60 or 65 and repeat the process. As an added bonus, the Adventurer’s Guild reward for killing 500 Dust Sprites grants you the Thief’s Ring, which doubles the drop rate of monsters, speeding up the process even more.
3. Digging deep into the mines
Not all farmers are a great swordsman and, for some, the mines are a vast and unexploited land. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to quickly forge a path into its depths. However, before doing so, spend a few days upgrading your pick, as a golden pick will help you get through the first few levels of the mine. However, the gold ore does not appear until level 80; sounds like a catch-22, right? This is a time when you’ll want to spend some cash now for a long-term payoff. Buy enough ore from the blacksmith for five of each metal bar and use it to turn it into a golden pickaxe.
The increased rock-destroying power of your shiny new toy will reduce rock work in the early levels of the mine, making it much easier to descend to the depths where those Dust Sprites can be found and, yes, the gold ore. Another important thing is that the deeper you go, the better the weapons will be unlocked in the guild. This is essential for charcoal farming, as a mastered weapon helps you destroy those level 50 enemies quickly and pleasantly.
4. Become a berry baron
We will need money to fund this farm reform, and berries are the place to be. Also, wouldn’t it be nice to do real farming in this farming game?
In early summer, carve out a huge swath of soil (be sure to save any clay you dig!) And plant as many blueberry seeds as you can. Make sure to apply fertilizer to them (use all the sap from your tree farm above) for a higher chance of silver and gold harvests, and wait for the money to come through. Blueberries take 13 days to ripen and continue to produce three to four more berries every four days after that (don’t be tempted by the fast-growing Tiller skill, you want to be a craftsman for our next step). Plant in the early days of summer and you’ll get four crops and a good payday. (And since they keep growing throughout the season, we don’t have to worry about wasting time replanting.
Do the same for Cranberries in the fall and you will soon have enough money to fund our plans. For irrigation, buy (or mine) the ore needed to make quality sprinklers (throw the quartz you find in the mines into the furnace to get the refined quartz you need). Since blueberries do not have the opportunity to grow into large crops, there is no need to plan them in 3×3 grids. With the automated berry operation, you can spend all your time in the mines growing coal, copper, and iron ore.
5. Get into the alcohol game
By now your farm should be a relatively fine-tuned operation, but to really attract the riches, it’s time to get into the wine business. It takes around seven days for the barrels to turn a fruit into wine, but doing so triples the value of the input fruit (even more if you take the Craftsman buff). This means that we need a lot of barrels to cope with the long turnaround time and keep up with our fruit production. Each barrel contains 30 wood and a clay, a copper bar, an iron bar and an oak resin. This is where all that material farming pays off.
You now have a number of options for fruit entrances, based on overall game progress and Scrooge McDuckery’s grade. The first step is to simply get on with Operation Berry and start producing enough Blueberry wine to send Ben Wyatt home in a stupor. But blueberries shine for their multi-crop yields and return on investment, not because of a high selling price. Since barrels take so long to process, using higher value inputs generates higher overall profits, even if the initial seed is more expensive. If summer is coming up soon and you’ve completed the Community Center package to repair the bus to the desert (use some of your berry money for that), Starfruits from the Oasis store will result in an incredible return on investment. The seeds are expensive (400g each), but the resulting wine sells for 2400g (3600g with the Artisan Advantage).
But carambola are only good in summer, and even with the greenhouse repaired, there is a more efficient option. Ancestral fruit wine. As soon as you find the Ancient Seed artifact, plant the resulting seed (as long as it’s before fall) and wait. It is a long growing period, 28 days, but it continues to produce fruit every week throughout the spring, summer and fall.
The trick here is that every time a fruit is produced, throw it into the seed machine and plant again. (Deluxe Speed-Gro is your friend here). Soon (well, maybe months later) you will have a field of ancient fruit crops. The ultimate goal here is to fill your greenhouse with the lucrative harvest (so, you know, do it). Ancient Fruit Wine sells for slightly less than Starfruit, but the extended grow cycle means you save time on replanting as your plants will last forever inside that wonderful glass house.
Each plant produces one fruit every seven days, perfectly coinciding with the long production cycle of the barrel. There are 120 plots in your greenhouse. Subtracting four for the iridium sprinklers (lay out your crops this way, it’s 116 ancient fruit plants. So 116 barrels is your end goal (aren’t you glad you grew all those materials now?)
Once the operation is running smoothly, it can be expanded with more barrels supported by fruit trees. Redditor OrinMacGregor has a nice report that breaks down how many barrels per fruit tree you need.
It’s a lot of work, but the result is a self-sufficient money printing operation. Just don’t get so exhausted along the way that he feels the need to drop everything, move to the country and manage his grandfather’s old farm.