Stardew Valley is a game filled with countless choices. From mining, fishing, raising animals, to farming—every decision you make contributes to the growth and success of your virtual farmstead. One such important decision is choosing the right crops to plant. In the lush green lands of Pelican Town, strawberries stand out as a top-tier crop for several compelling reasons. Contrary to popular belief, the benefits are not just monetary; they extend to other aspects like experience gains and long-term farming efficiency.
Why Strawberries? It’s About Experience and Profit
The importance of strawberries in Stardew Valley can be summarized in two points: gaining experience and maximizing profit. Experience may not directly fill your pockets, but it opens the door to new opportunities and higher income. And when it comes to the farming skill, reaching level 8 unlocks Kegs, and level 10 gives you the Artisan profession—two critical milestones for anyone interested in the brewing business.
The Experience Factor
Experience takes precedence over profits for several reasons. When you reach farming level 8, you unlock the Keg. By level 10, you unlock the Artisan profession, which significantly boosts the value of your artisan goods like wines, cheese, and more. These are pivotal points for anyone looking to make it big in the brewing business in Stardew Valley. The quicker you can start brewing, the sooner you can reinvest those profits into your farm, enhancing your overall efficiency.
In terms of experience points, strawberries provide 18 XP per harvest. In comparison:
- Daffodil provides 8 XP
- Green Bean provides 9 XP
- Potato provides 14 XP
- Kale provides 17 XP
- Cauliflower provides 23 XP
At first glance, cauliflower might seem like the crop with the highest experience gain, but consider the growth cycle. Cauliflower takes 12 days to mature, while strawberries mature in 6 days, allowing you two harvest cycles in the same period. That’s 36 XP from strawberries versus 23 XP from a single cycle of cauliflower.
Moreover, planting 100 strawberries can quickly elevate your farming level to 6, and 200 strawberry plants will shoot it up to level 8. Once you hit level 8, planting hops during the summer can bring in a significant amount of money in a short time.
The Profit Aspect
When it comes to profits, especially in Year 1, strawberries also take the lead. For the sake of comparison, here are the daily profits of several popular spring crops:
- Daffodil: 3.75g per day
- Kale: 6.67g per day
- Potato: 7.67g per day
- Cauliflower: 7.92g per day
- Strawberries: 11.67g per day
The daily profit of strawberries is clearly the highest among the popular spring crops. And if you take into account farming skills and crop quality, the difference becomes even more significant. After reaching Level 5 in the Farmer profession and harvesting twice from 100 strawberry plants, you can make up to 29,500g. Utilizing Basic Fertilizer will even bump up your profits.
Other Benefits of Planting Strawberries
Strawberries offer additional advantages, such as plot retention. When summer arrives, your strawberry plants will wither, making it easy to clear and replant the area. If you’ve already set up sprinklers, the soil will be pre-watered, making your first day of summer planting a breeze. This is especially useful if you plan to plant hops during the summer, as it saves both time and energy.
However, strawberries are not without their downsides. The seeds are only available for purchase during the Egg Festival on the 13th of Spring. This requirement may disrupt your early game activities like fishing or mining, and it means you can’t plant them early in the season. Therefore, careful planning is crucial to maximize the benefits of strawberries.
Alternate Crop Choices
If you find the constraints of strawberry farming unappealing, potatoes and kale are good alternatives. Potatoes are cheaper and offer higher returns if you’re short on cash. Kale provides a lower profit but requires less labor. Both of these alternatives offer less XP, so if it rains, you’ll be at an advantage with strawberries as you won’t have to water them, saving you time for other activities.
If you want to be efficient in Stardew Valley, time is often more valuable than money. Strawberries offer the best balance of experience and profitability in the game, helping you unlock critical game mechanics faster and maximizing your income. While they may require some early-game sacrifices and careful planning, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs.
So, are strawberries the best crop to plant in Stardew Valley? For many players, the answer is a resounding yes. They offer a unique blend of experience and profit that few other crops can match, making them a cornerstone crop for any serious Stardew Valley player.