Farming 101: How To Become The Best Farmer

Farming may be the most important skill in Stardew Valley. Not sure how to improve, and wondering what steps to take? Read on to learn how to max out your Farming skill, and to understand just why it’s so vital.

A screenshot from Stardew Valley in which the farmer is farming on their land.

What Is Farming?

Farming is the skill in Stardew Valley closely associated with the act of growing and harvesting crops, as well as taking care of animals. As this game is a farming simulator, farming is a very big component of the game. There is a great deal of variety in terms of both crops and animals, and there’s a lot to learn about the skill.

What are the Other Skills in Stardew?

There are five skills in Stardew Valley that you have to master:

  • Farming
  • Mining
  • Foraging
  • Fishing
  • Combat

Gaining levels leads to a whole plethora of benefits. Overall, you’ll get new recipes, access to great professions, and earn far more profit from each skill as you gain levels in them.

Leveling up in Mining allows the miner to collect more Ore from veins (to craft into pricy and useful metal bars) and gems – and earn more gold from selling these resources. Increasing your mining skill may also lead you to find more Geodes than normal. Someone proficient in Foraging can collect Wood and Hardwood far more efficiently and potentially gain the ability to forage only Iridium Quality goods.

A master fisher may choose the Luremaster profession, and never need to refill their Crab Pots with Bait. Improving your fishing level may allow you to sell fish for far higher prices. A skilled monster-hunter can raise their total HP (health points) permanently, or increase their damage and critical strike chance exponentially by leveling up their combat skill.

As for farming… keep on reading to find out!

The Skills tab in Stardew Valley.

How Do You Level Up Skills?

In order to level up your skills, you must participate in activities that relate to each of the individual skills. For example, to level up your fishing skill, grab a fishing rod and get down to the Pelican Town beach. Different activities reward you with different amounts of experience points. For example, catching regular quality Sardine nets you just 13 experience, but catching an Iridium Quality Legend, awards you with 255 experience.

It works the same with farming. Harvesting crops, and taking care of animals, nets you a certain amount of experience. However, different crops grant different amounts!

Why You Should Level Up Farming

1. To Unlock Tool Proficiencies

Each level in farming grants you +1 proficiency with the Watering Can and Hoe tools.

The Watering Can is an invaluable item that allows you to water your crops. You need to water your crops every day (except when it’s raining), and this action costs a certain level of Energy. If you have a very large field of crops, you may find that after you’re done watering, you have almost no Energy left to do anything else in the game. Proficiency with the Watering Can lowers the cost of Energy to complete the watering action. In short, a higher level of farming, allows you to farm more efficiently.

Similarly, the Hoe requires a bit of Energy to use. You hoe soil to create tilled soil, on which you can place Fertilizer and Seeds. Without a Hoe, you cannot farm. However, unlike the Watering Can, you don’t need to use the Hoe every day. Once you’ve created an area of tilled soil for crops, you can put your Hoe back in the chest, and won’t need to spend any Energy until you need more tilled soil. A higher level of farming means that this act of hoeing uses less Energy, nonetheless.

Watering Can proficiency comes in handy when you have a lot of crops.

2. to Create Artisan Goods

Leveling up skills leads to the unlocking of various crafting recipes that can be extremely useful. Nearly every level in farming is invaluable, as you will gain access to various machines that produce artisan goods. Such as:

  • Mayonnaise Machine (level 2) – This machine turns Eggs into Mayonnaise, which fetches a far nicer price than plain ol’ Eggs do. You can make regular Mayonnaise, or expand your selection by crafting Duck Mayonnaise, Dinosaur Mayonnaise, and Void Mayonnaise, too. Different Mayonnaises are worth different amounts of gold, and some are even necessary to complete quests or rare bundles!
  • Bee House (level 3) – Allows for the passive creation of Honey. Place Bee Houses near fields of flowers and let the bees do their work. Flowers of higher value will produce more valuable Honey, which can be sold for profit or further processed into Mead. To craft Mead, you’ll need to place Honey in Kegs, which you also unlock as you level up in Farming.
  • Preserves Jar (level 4) – This machine allows you to craft Jelly and Pickles. These two Artisan Goods increase the value of whatever crop you place in the jar to process and can be gifted to villagers to net high amounts of friendship.
  • Cheese Press (level 6) – The press turns Milk and Goat Milk into Cheese and Goat Cheese respectively. Cheese is both incredibly valuable, and also very nutritious. Just Gold Quality Goat Cheese, for example, grants you a whopping 225 Energy and 101 Health. Furthermore, you can age Cheese in Casks to further increase its worth.
  • Loom (level 7) – The Loom can be used to craft Cloth from Wool, which you can shear off of Sheep and find on the floor of a Coop in which you keep rabbits. Cloth is necessary to access tailoring and can diversify your farmer’s wardrobe tremendously.
  • Oil Maker (level 8) – The Oil Maker has a niche purpose; it can be used to create Oil from Corn, Sunflower Seeds, and Sunflowers, or to create Truffle Oil from Truffles. This latter application is what we’re after. Truffle Oil is one of the most coveted items in the game, and just one single bottle is worth over 1,000 gold.
  • Keg (level 9) – Finally, Kegs are used to craft Wine from crops. Crops of higher value create more expensive Wine, and Wine can further be aged in Casks to increase its worth. Investing in a cellar full of Casks and Starfruit or Ancient Fruit is one of the best ways to get rich in Stardew Valley.
Fun fact, unlike Eggs, Mayonnaise can’t be eaten.

3. To Unlock New Fertilizers

You’ll learn crafting recipes for various types of Fertilizers as you level up in farming. Fertilizers can make your life at the farm much easier. Some increase the quality of the crop, some allow you to skip watering the crops, and others help plants grow faster.

Retaining Soil is very useful on the Beach Farm map.

4. To Gain Access to Sprinklers

Sprinklers allow you to start the process of fully automating your farm. Automating your farm means never having to do any work, and just relaxing as the money makes itself. With Iridium Sprinklers arranged in an optimal way, you won’t have to spend any time watering your crops at all. You can just make up, and head on over into town to do whatever it is you most enjoy doing in Stardew Valley.

There are standard Sprinklers, unlocked at level two of Farming, which are crafted from one Copper Bar and one Iron Bar. Quality Sprinklers are unlocked at level six of Farming and require one Iron Bar, one Gold Bar, and one Refined Quartz. Finally, Iridium Sprinklers, unlocked at level nine, require a Gold Bar, an Iridium Bar, and one Battery Pack. Each upgrade increases the amount of adjacent tiles that the sprinklers water.

Craft an Iridium Sprinkler or 12 and never water your crops again!

5. To Obtain Higher Quality Crops

The quality of your crop is determined when you’re harvesting the plant. Its quality soars when you use Quality Fertilizer, for one, but your farming level plays a role too. A more skilled farmer boosts the chance that your crops will be of a higher quality – Silver, Gold, or Iridium, rather than regular quality.

Fertilizer + high skill = far less regular quality crops.

6. To Get Higher Quality Animal Products

In addition to harvesting higher quality crops, proficient farmers gain access to higher quality animal goods. This is because, if you choose to focus on husbandry – the care, cultivation, and breeding of crops and animals – you’ll be able to befriend animals with more ease. Animals you’re friends with produce higher quality goods, which in turn means more profit.

Happy animals produce higher quality goods.

7. To Unlock Farming Professions

At level ten, you’ll be able to unlock two of the six available farmer professions. These should make farming a lot easier, and increase profits from the avenue that you’re focusing on the most. To learn more about professions, and farming professions, in particular, read on below!

Rectangular boxes in the Skill tab indicate professions.

What Are Professions

All skills have professions. You can choose between two professions at level five of each skill, and then once again make another binary choice at level ten. In total, each skill has six possible professions.

Usually, professions allow you to make a decision about how you want to engage in any given skill. For example, with fishing, if you choose the Angler profession and not the Trapper profession, you’re making a decision to focus on fishing with fishing rods, and not focus on Crab Pots.

List of Professions

SkillLevel Five Profession #1Level Ten Profession OptionsLevel Five Profession #2Level Ten Profession Options
FarmingRancherCoopmaster / ShepherdTillerArtisan / Agriculturist
MiningMinerBlacksmith / ProspectorGeologistExcavator / Gemologist
ForagingForesterLumberjack / TapperGathererBotanist / Tracker
FishingFisherAngler / PirateTrapperMariner / Luremaster
CombatFighterBrute / DefenderScoutAcrobat / Desperado

Farmer Professions

Rancher, or Tiller

At level five, you must choose if you want to focus more on animals – and choose Rancher – or on crops – and choose the Tiller profession. Are you a fan of barns and coops, and all of the coop and barn animals that dwell inside them? Or are you the type of player to grab some Wild Seeds and get to the fields? Consider this before you make a choice.

A Rancher’s animal products are worth 20% more gold. This applies to both raw and processed animal goods. For example, you have a few Sheep and your Sheep produce wool. A Rancher’s Wool sells for 20% more, and so does a Rancher’s Cloth, even though Cloth is an Artisan Good, and not a raw animal product.

A Tiller’s crops are worth 10% more gold. This applies only to crops, and not to their respective Artisan Goods. For example, Tiller affects the value of a single Cranberry but doesn’t influence the price of Cranberry Jelly, or Cranberry Wine.

Rancher: Coopmaster, or Shepherd

If you’ve chosen Rancher, you get the choose between Coopmaster and Shepherd at level ten.

Coopmasters focus on Coops. A farmer with this profession will be able to befriend coop animals – Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, and more – much quicker than a farmer without it. Further, the incubation time for all kinds of eggs (including Ostriches) is cut in half.

A Shepherd gets similar benefits for their friends in the Barn. Shepherds befriend barn animals more quickly. Further, Sheep will produce Wool faster. Without this profession, a Sheep will produce Wool once every three days, and with it, once every day.

The farmer hangs out with some coop animals. Find the dinosaur!

Tiller: Artisan, or Agriculturist

If, on the other hand, you’ve chosen Tiller at level five, at level ten you get to choose between the Artisan and Agriculturist professions.

Artisans can sell their Artisan Goods – Wine, Cheese, Preserves, and more – at a 40% higher cost. Whether you’re focusing more on animal products or on crops, you’re likely making Artisan Goods and would benefit greatly from this perk!

Agriculturists, on the other hand, grow their crops 10% faster. This can be helpful when the Season is nearing its end but is otherwise not all too exciting. Speed-Gro Fertilizer can do the same thing!

Wine-making is an exceptionally lucrative business.

How to Level Up In Farming

There are two main ways to gain experience in the farming skill:

  • Harvesting Crops – the simple act of plucking a piece of fruit or vegetable nets you a certain amount of experience. The exact amount depends on which crop it is you’re harvesting. Harvesting a Coffee Bean grants you four experience points, for example, and plucking a Sweet Gem Berry nets you 64 points.
  • Taking Care of Animals – petting, shearing, and milking an animal grants you five experience points. Further, harvesting Eggs and other animal products grant five experience as well, with the exception of Truffles. Harvesting Truffles awards Foraging experience.

Top Three Spring Crops For Experience

1. Ancient Fruit

Ancient Fruit is a highly valuable fruit crop that can be made into exceptionally pricy Wine. Due to its high value, and the fact that it’s both a multi-harvest and multi-season crop, it’s a favorite of many Stardew Valley players who want to get rich. Harvesting a single Ancient Fruit crop yields 38 experience points.

Having a whole field of Ancient Fruit requires some patience. To easily acquire Ancient Fruit, you first need to find Ancient Seeds. To learn how, read our featured article below:

2. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is another valuable fruit crop that grows in Spring. Unlike Ancient Fruit, these disappear after a single harvest, and cannot grow in any Season aside from Spring. Harvesting a single Rhubarb yields 26 points of experience.

You can only purchase Rhubarb Seeds from the Oasis; the general store in the Calico Desert. Learn below how to access fix the bus and get your hands on these sweet sweet Seeds:

3. Cauliflower

Harvesting Cauliflower yields 23 points of experience.

Unlike the two fruit crops above, Cauliflower is easy to get your hands on. It’s available from the get-go, and the seeds can be purchased from Pierre’s General Store or JojaMart for about 80 gold.

Top Three Summer Crops For Experience

1. Starfruit

Starfruit is another very popular choice for players who focus on earning money in Stardew Valley. It’s the second most valuable crop, right behind the Sweet Gem Berry. Harvesting Starfruit yields 43 points of experience; more than any Spring crop.

Unlike the Sweet Gem Berry, Starfruit Seeds are fairly easy to get your hands on. They can be purchased at the Oasis store for 400g a packet.

2. Ancient Fruit

Since Ancient Fruit grows in all Seasons but Winter, it’s a valid choice for collecting experience in Summer as well.

3. Pineapple

Pineapples were added in the most recent update and can be grown on your farm during the Summer, or at any time on Ginger Island’s Farm. Harvesting a Pineapple yields 30 points of experience.

You can acquire Pineapple seeds from the Island Trader for one Magma Cap each. It may be fruitful to purchase as many Seeds as you can, and then use the Seed Maker to create more, once you’ve grown a few Pineapples.

Top Three Fall Crops For Experience

1. Sweet Gem Berry

Sweet Gem Berries are the rarest and most valuable fruit crops in the game. Harvesting a single berry yields a whopping 64 points of experience; far more than any other crop.

Acquiring a Sweet Gem Berry is no easy task, and having a whole field of these berries will be a very difficult ordeal. Furthermore, Sweet Gem Berries require an entire Season to grow, so they are not a very good choice if your desire is to farm experience. To learn how to get your hands on this berry, check out our article below:

2. Ancient Fruit

Since Ancient Fruit grows in all Seasons but Winter, it’s a valid choice for collecting experience in Fall as well.

3. Pumpkin

A classic Fall crop, Pumpkins are a vegetable crop you can grow in Fall. In addition to being valuable, Pumpkins are liked by nearly every villager, and loved by several too. Harvesting a Pumpkin yields 31 points of experience.

Like Cauliflowers, Pumpkins are available from the get-go, and you can purchase its seeds at Pierre’s General Store, or Jojamart, for 100 and 125 gold respectively.

Best Crops for Early Game Experience

1. Cauliflower (Spring)

As it’s available from the beginning of the game, Cauliflower is your best choice to earn early-game farming experience in the Spring.

2. Melon (Summer)

Starfruit, Ancient Fruit, and Pineapples are all mid-to-late game crops. At the start of the game, your best option for farming experience in the Summer is Melon. Harvesting a single Melon yields 27 points of experience, only a little bit less than Pineapples.

3. Pumpkin (Fall)

As it’s available from the beginning of the game, Pumpkin is your best choice to earn early-game farming experience in the Fall.

Meet the author

I'm a content writer and an avid video game player whose favourites are either chill RPGs or super competitive shooters with no in-between! If anyone is still reading this please help, Joja has trapped me in a guide-writing factory and I'm so tired of drinking Joja Cola.

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