Stardew Valley: Most Profitable Cash Crops

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Yes, I know, this isn’t what Stardew Valley is about. I’m currently on my fifth playthrough and I still get starry-eyed when I start giving presents to a crush, but after 200 hours it’s nice to help beef-up my wallet a bit so that next House Expansion won’t put me in the Barn.

I want to start off by giving credit to Thorinair, who created an absolutely phenomenal interactive tool to allow you to deep dive into different scenarios, input your relevant farming skills, and even see what the best crop to plant is midway through a season. You can check out the tool for your own research, it’s a delight to use and I’m happy I stumbled across it. It covers a plethora of criteria such as:

About the Data

Since data-dives aren’t everyone’s jam, I’ve compiled the top 5(ish) crops on a season-by-season breakdown that will give you the highest profit margin over a single season. Some other quick information about how this list was created:

Now that we’ve covered the disclaimers, let’s jump right into it:


Spring

#1 Strawberries

650 gold profit per crop.
Obtained during Egg Festival (Spring 13th), but even with the late start, if you plant Strawberries after the Egg Festival ends at 10pm you’ll be able to grow the plant fully in 8 days and get 2 harvests worth out of the plant before Summer 1, netting you a 200 gold profit per seed purchased, still higher than any other freshly planted seeds on the same day as the Egg Festival.

#2 Green Beans

240 gold profit per crop.
Green Beans are wonderful for first-year farmers to start making money and they’re a great introduction to Trellis crops. They can be a pain in the butt to plan around, but it’s best to learn early-on! Since they’re also used to unlock the Spring Crops Bundle and a cheap learning opportunity for Trellis planning, I recommend planting a bunch of them.

#3 Rhubarb

175 gold profit per crop.
Purchased from the Oasis shop (requires Desert access), meaning this will not be accessible to any Year 1 player.

#4 Cauliflower

138 gold profit per crop.
With their longer harvest time but high return rate, Cauliflower is still a great staple for your farm considering you need them to unlock your Spring Crops Bundle.

#5 Potato

~75 gold profit per crop.
Potatoes are amazing first-year crops. They have a 25% chance to spawn a second potato on harvest and with a growth period of only 6 days you’re able to get 4 harvests completed before Summer 1.


Summer

A brief note about Summer, the “top 5” most profitable crops are inaccessible to Year 1 players, so I’ve extended it to the “Top 6” to be inclusive.

#1 Blueberry

668 gold profit per crop.
This is the best multi-harvest crop of the summer without processing and the most profitable crop for Year 1 players. Each harvest of a Blueberry bush has a 100% chance of yielding two additional berries (3 per plant), so even though they only sell for ~62g each, you’ll harvest 12 per plant in a season at only 80g per plant.

#2 Starfruit

537 gold profit per crop.
Purchased from the Oasis shop (requires Desert access), meaning this will not be accessible to any Year 1 player. While Starfruit is the highest raw crop value, it takes a backseat to Hops when processed by a keg.

#3 Hops

467 gold profit per crop.
I’ll make a more in-depth post about crop processing in the future, but it should be worth noting that across all seasons and all crops the lowly Hop fermented in a Keg (creating Pale Ale) is the most profitable crop possible. It also has a regrow rate of 1 day, meaning you’ll get new Hops every-other-day for a steady income.

#4 Hot Pepper

360 gold profit per crop.
While they have a lower overall profit margin compared to other multi-harvest crops, the Hot Pepper’s three-day regrow rate makes it a great source of consistent income without needing a trellis like Hops, meaning you can plant more in a smaller amount of space.

#5 Melon

232 gold profit per crop.
Melons are good and required for the Spring Crops Bundle, so be sure to pick them up.

#6 Red Cabbage

225 gold profit per crop.
Purchased from the Oasis shop (requires Desert access), meaning this will not be accessible to any Year 1 player. Worth a hefty amount, be sure to keep one on hand since it is needed for the Dye Bundle on the Bulletin Board.


Fall

Fall is similar to Summer in that, the “top 5” most profitable crops are pretty inaccessible to Year 1 players.

#1 Sweet Gem Berry

2,750 profit per crop.
Purchased at Gypsy Wagon for 1,000 gold each, they’re difficult to save up the initial funds for. Be sure to keep one Sweet Gem Berry to give to the Old Master Cannoli statue in the Secret Woods for a Stardrop reward to increase your max energy.

#2 Cranberry

693 profit per crop.
Cranberries have a 100% chance of dropping multiple crops on harvest and they’re worth the most unprocessed out of all Fall crops (I’m considering Sweet Gem Berries a bit of an outlier because of their difficult upfront cost required for purchasing seeds). Hold onto a handful to process with a Preserves Jar during Winter to keep incoming rolling alongside Hops Kegs.

#3 Grape

540 profit per crop.
Due to requiring a trellis and their lower profit margin, be sure to plant more Cranberries compared to Grapes if possible, however, Cranberry seeds are four times more expensive, it’s still a good idea to plant Grapes early on.

#4 Pumpkin

300 profit per crop.
Keep one on hand because, towards the end of Fall, Carolyn will request a pumpkin to carve into a Jack-o-Lantern for Abigail.

#5 Artichoke

170 profit per crop.
An overall weaker plant, it doesn’t have any strong arguments for planting it. There are stronger choices in the Fall for Raw Crop, Preserve Jars, and Kegs. It is not a requirement for any Bundle. No villager “loves” Artichoke. Its sole benefit is that it is an ingredient in some cooking and relatively cheap.


Multi-seasonal crops

There are no crops which grow in Winter, so I also wanted to highlight crops can grow throughout multiple seasons straight.

Ancient Fruit

4,698 gold profit per crop. If you are able to plant an Ancient Fruit on Spring 1, it will grow for 28 days, then begin reproducing Ancient Fruits every 7 days for three seasons until Fall 28, giving you 8 total harvests and fat stacks of gold.

Coffee Bean

(-1,235) to 1,265 profit per crop. Coffee is a hard crop to calculate the value for. The profit linked at the top of this post will often show Coffee as being a negative profit most of the time. One coffee plant yields 4(+) coffee beans every 2 days, which can then be planted and grown into additional coffee plants. It gets out of hand quickly and you can fill your entire greenhouse with fully grown coffee plants from a single seed in approximately 20 days. Most of the time it’s calculated negatively because the only way to purchase a Coffee Bean is to buy it from the Traveling cart for 2,500g (25% chance) or 100-1000g (1.26% chance). Personally, I get my first Coffee Bean by killing Dust Sprites in the mines (levels 40-79) since they have a ~2% chance of dropping one and they spawn in large numbers. Even if you pay for the first Coffee Bean, their rapid regrowth rate still make it profitable to purchase one, but you’ll need to spread them quickly and process them in a Keg in order to turn a profit.

Corn

535 gold profit per crop. Corn is the first multi-seasonal crop most players will encounter. If you plant it on Summer 1 and keep it watered through Fall 28 it is the most profitable multi-season crop you can purchase from Piere.

Wheat

273 gold profit per plot. Wheat is multi-seasonal, but since it grows in only 4 days and doesn’t produce replantable seed (meaning you pay for seeds after each harvest), it feels less like a multi-seasonal crop and more like a crop that happens to be an option if you’re low on funds and have some empty tilled space you need to fill at any point during 2/3rds of the harvestable year.

Sunflower

(-100) to 100 gold profit per crop. Sunflowers are a surefire way to throw your money in the trash. They have no effect on the type of Honey produced by Bee Hives and have a chance to drop an additional 0-3 Sunflower Seeds upon harvest (an average of 1.5 seeds per harvest). If you take the 1.5 seed average and calculate it into a reduced cost towards future crops, it ends up averaging out to be about zero gold, eventually making a small profit towards the end of the second season if you get lucky with seed drops. The seeds can be processed into Oil, but overall the Sunflower is not worth it as a cash crop.


Fertilizer Saving Tip Additional Tip:

If you have any crops, not viable in Fall, whose final harvest will occur on or before the 25th of Summer, consider delaying the harvest until the 25th. This way, the land will not fallow before then and any fertilizer will remain. On the 25th then, harvest and replant in Wheat. This multi-season crop will survive to be harvested (by scythe) on the first of Fall, and will additionally save you your fertilizer and any work of restoring the land for planting that might otherwise have been created by the transition of the seasons.


How the Return on Investment (ROI) of cash crops work

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to what qualifies a crop as the “Best Crop”, primarily it depends on whether or not your farm has room to grow. If you’ve been farming for a year or two and do not have room to expand your farm, then you need to focus on growing plants with a high “Gold per Seed” ratio. However, if you’re earlier in the game and you still have room to till more soil, then you want to focus on plants with a better Return on Investment instead.

To illustrate the difference between these two approaches, let’s talk about the ROI of two crops available in Year 1 Spring: the Parsnip and the Cauliflower. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that your farm only has 8 spaces on it for the season and you’re torn between whether to plant Parsnips or Cauliflower (Potatoes would be your best bet). Let’s look at what would give you the most amount of money by the end of the season:

Cauliflower:

Parsnips:

It seems like a pretty cut-and-dry choice to purchase as many Cauliflower as possible because has a large profit margin over the Parsnip. The above model shows off why it’s valuable to consider high Cost Per Seed values into amount when you have a limited amount of tillable soil at your disposal such as inside the Greenhouse or late-game farms. However, this model becomes unprofitable if we’re able to expand the farm during the season, much like every Year 1 farm which can increase its amount of tilled soil as the season progresses. For the next model we’ll assume “Normal” quality crops and 80 gold to spend so we can see the side-by-side comparison of Investment vs Return out and because it creates a more realistic example. Let’s walk through the same model, but this time with the ability to expand taken into account:

Cauliflower:

Parsnips:

This is because despite Parsnips having half of the Gold per Seed value of Cauliflower, it has over four times more ROI.

Cauliflower ROI

Parsnip ROI

As I mentioned previously I’ll be writing follow-up posts in the future covering things like Keg and Pickles, which begin to change the profit margins of different crops in various amounts. Crops that hang out in the middle of the pack become wildly more profitable if processed by either a Preserves Jar or a Keg, which can be a great way to continue revenue streams throughout the barren winter months. I’ll be trying to tackle that within the next few weeks so stay tuned for more posts on Stardew Valley and in the meantime keep on tilling!