Stardew Valley is a wonderfully fun experience. Growing crops, mingling with the townsfolk, and exploring mines are just some of the things you will experience while playing. With so much information on what you can eventually do, sometimes getting there can be a little intimidating. Whether you are a returning player or playing for the very first time, below is a starting guide to help get you through the first season of Stardew Valley.
No rest for the wicked
Once you are set free from the intro, it's time to go to work. Grab the 15 Parsnip seeds from your house and plant them as soon as possible. This does not have to be fancy, just clear a small area for your new crops and water them when finished planting the seeds. Crops do not begin to grow until watered so getting this process started quickly is key. This should not take long, leaving you time to gather supplies and meet the rest of the villagers of Pelican Town. I would start clearing as many trees as possible, with wood being a key resource for items early in the game. Once you're drained most of your stamina, take a walk around town and say hello to everyone. It's best to get acquainted with everyone as building relationships will result in some rewards down the road.
Save it for later
Be mindful when you clear rocks, wood, and grass from your farm. If you have an area that is covered with grass, maybe save that part for now if it does not interfere with your current crops. You will probably not be able to build a silo until the end of spring or early summer, but it will be a key structure on your farm. Filling that with hay will feed your animals, should you choose to have them. This is where the grass comes in hand, as you can fill your silo with hay by cutting it with a scythe. Hay is an easy resource to get and is a simple task to perform. Your other option is to pay 50 gold for each piece of hay from Minnie, which will become incredibly expensive before you know it.
The bridge to opportunity
When you first walk on the beach and proceed to the right, you'll notice a part of the beach is inaccessible due to a broken bridge. Repairing this bridge will take 300 pieces of wood, which is why clearing your land early is a good idea. You can also take down trees from the forest to the west of Pelican Town. When the bridge is built, this new area will spawn items such as sea urchins and coral. There is potential to make some cash early, but don't rely on this for easy money. Sometimes the beach has plenty of items and sometimes it can be completely empty. You should have enough time in the Spring to make a daily trip down to the beach and see what has washed ashore. Coral and clam shells can make for easy money that might help fund your next investment.
From the woods into your pocket
Possibly on the same trip to the beach, there is an area in the woods that can also be beneficial early on in Stardew Valley. In the south-east corner of the map, Spring Onions will spawn every day. The amount of onions that spawn every day varies much like the items along the beach. Spring Onions make for a great snack that can restore energy or be sold for a quick profit. Since they only sell for 8 gold, it might be best to keep these in your inventory for restoring energy.
Searching the land for goods
While you're walking around town or in the woods, keep an eye out for foraging items. Leeks, wild horseradishes, dandelions, and daffodil are plentiful and are more useful than you might think. Dandelions and leeks both restore a decent amount of energy and health, making them useful when mining. Daffodil does not offer a stat benefit, but they sell for 30 gold apiece. Gathering a couple of these every day makes for a small, but easy payday. Wild horseradishes sell for the most at 50 gold, while restoring just a small portion of energy and health. Picking up and selling horseradishes and daffodil may seem tedious, but it is an easy way for beginners to make coin early on.
Every bit matters
Speaking of cash, money in your pocket is a little hard to come by when you first arrive on your farm. Besides from the initial 15 Parsnips you receive, what you decide to grow is truly up to you. Technically, you do not have to take the gift of Parsnips but it is quite wise to do so. They only sell for 35 gold (no star quality), but seeing as they grow in 4 days, Parsnips become a quick way to make money. Only costing 20 gold, the profit is not tremendous. However, the low cost allows you to plant many at a time, thus increasing your farming level. Your farming ability may not mean much in the beginning but will play a bigger role in the next couple of seasons.
Plan ahead when choosing your seeds
On your first trip to Pierre's, it would behoove you to pick up a few cauliflower seeds as the finished crop sells for quite a bit. The downside is that these seeds cost 80 gold, which can quickly deplete your funds if you are not careful. Pick up two or three for the initial plant and keep more in mind for later. When you start to make a little more money, buy some potato seeds and plant them at your farm. With the chance of yielding another potato upon harvest, there is an opportunity to make bigger profits from potatoes. They sell for 80 gold (regular quality) and harvest in six days, making them another quick cash crop. The money from these fast crops can allow for the funds for a large cauliflower crop.
Keep it square
Something to keep in mind for this season and future seasons is the planting of three specific crops: Cauliflower, Melons, and Pumpkins. If space allows, arrange the seeds in a 3x3 pattern. Why? These three crops have the chance to turn into a giant crop that awards twice the amount of crops. Who doesn't want more crops to turn in for money?
One man's trash is another's treasure
Once you meet Wily, he gives you a bamboo rod that can be used to catch fish. It can be easy to look over this as something to do in your spare time, but fishing can be profitable and valuable to you. Spending a few hours fishing every day will net you a couple hundred gold, depending on the amount and quality of the fish. Not every cast will bring a fish in as sometimes you will catch seaweed, algae, and just complete trash. As tempting as it is, try to refrain from throwing the trash away as a recycling machine can turn trash into useful items such as coal, wood, cloth, and refined quartz.
Now if the choice is a valuable fish or item, then throw the trash away if inventory space is needed. When you're battling to catch the fish on the line, be on the lookout for treasure chests appearing from time to time. You much "catch" the chest along with the fish (not simultaneously, though) in order to reap the benefits. Sometimes the reward is something small such as bait or it can be quite valuable such as gold ore.
Speaking of trash, check the trash cans in Pelican town for the chance to find a useful item. Sure, soggy newspaper and broken glasses might be common finds but there are great things that can be randomly found such as gold bars and fish to name a few. Most of the time you might find nothing but when you do snag a good item, it makes your day. Just don't let the townsfolk see you.
Gold in the water
Fishing can be a good source of income when you first begin Stardew Valley. Fish have many varieties of uses including energy, gifts, recipes, and a nice bit of cash. You're not going to be raking in the thousands but a few hours of fishing a night can result in a little more cash for crops or even a backpack upgrade. Fishing can be done at the lake by the mines, the river that flows through Pelican Town and the forest, and the ocean. Additionally, fish can be caught on your farm if you have chosen the Riverland layout. The fish that can be caught from here are the same that would be caught in the river that flows through the forest and Pelican town.
If you really want to go on a fishing spree, you do not necessarily have to choose the Riverland layout. Sure, it is quite convenient to do the fishing right there on your farm and clearing inventory space can be a lot easier as well. But when your necessary chores are done, take the time to fish for a few hours. Different fish can be caught at the different locations so switching up where you choose to fish is actually valuable when it comes to completing the fishing bundles in the Community Center.
Chickens can wait
At some point during Spring, a quest will pop up which involves building a chicken coop. DO NOT DO THIS RIGHT AWAY! Save your resources for more valuable items at the moment such as more chests, scarecrows, and tappers. At 4,000 gold, the coop can be a little expensive early on, and the return on investment takes time to become profitable. Hold off from building this until the late summer or when you will have the money and resources to spare. Also, build a silo before you build your chicken coop. Make sure to have the silo filled with a bit of hay as well before the chicken coop is constructed.
Pack more or catch a bigger fish
As mentioned above, there are better investments at the moment than a chicken coop and those are the upgraded backpack and fiberglass rod. The backpack is pretty self-explanatory, allowing you to hold more items by increasing your inventory from 12 to 24. The fiberglass rod (available once you reach fishing level 2) increases your catching meter along with allowing bait to be used. Bait speeds up the process of getting a fish on the line, which is useful considering time is ever so important. So the question becomes which should you buy first? More space means more items to gather and sell, making the backpack the first choice most of the time. I say most of the time because of a new option in update 1.1, the waterland farm. You do not have to wander to the forest, ocean, or lake to do your fishing as you can do it literally in your backyard. If your farm has the waterland layout, a fiberglass rod might be a better first choice. Faster bites equal more fish and by being on the farm to do your fishing, clearing your inventory should not be hard or take very long.
Save up for a berry good reason
The first festival that players can attend happens on the 13th of Spring, the Egg Festival. Besides the big egg hunt that you can participate in, this festival is the one and only time that you can purchase the valuable spring crop, strawberries. This crop will produce more strawberries once matured, making it a nice addition to your farm. The only issue is that you are just about in the middle of Spring. Planting them right away will allow for two harvests before Summer arrives. At 100 gold, they are not cheap at the beginning of the game either.
You can do one of two things. First, you can do as I first did and purchase the seeds but wait until next spring to plant them. The second and the likely choice is to buy seeds and plant them right away. Even the no star quality strawberries sell for 120 gold, so they are worth the investment. With two harvests expected if planted after the Egg Festival, a good strategy might be to sell one harvest while keeping another. The cash from one harvest would make for good money that can be used on valuable summer crops. Hanging on to the other harvest will be useful when you learn how to craft the seedmaker. This tool allows you to insert crops to produce more seeds, which would be the only other way to acquire strawberry seeds other than the Egg Festival.
Rebuild with love... and items
If you choose not to sell out to Joja, the way to rebuilding the Pelican Town Community Center is by completing bundles. Placing certain items in specific bundles will result in valuable rewards such as seeds, fertilizer, and useful tools. While you can only complete bundles when inside the Community Center, you can check what you need at any time. Keep an eye out for items that could be inserted in a bundle, as the variety of items range from crops, fish, minerals, and produce from animals.
Hoarders are welcome
As a general rule, it is a good idea to keep at least one of everything that you find during your adventure. You'll likely have a few stacks of wood, sap, and stone due to the amount that you will pick up but don't forget to store away a few crops and minerals as well. You never know when someone might be asking for that out of season crop or when a piece might be handy for crafting an item. Almost everything has a use so hang on to your findings.
Convenience for a price
On every Friday and Sunday, a traveling merchant will appear in the west part of the forest below your farm. Various items can be purchased here that include crops, seeds, food, forage goods, and more. The catch is that these items are in most cases way overpriced. The merchant offers seeds at three or four times the price than that at Pierre's, it's not worth it.
However, items such as duck feathers and a rabbit's foot can be found here, two hard to get items required to finish different bundles in the Community Center. It might be worth the money for the convenience of getting these items without the hassle of purchasing ducks and rabbits. If you see item(s) that you're interested in, take a look at the price and decide if it's worth it to you.
One item to keep an eye out for is the Rare Seed. Although a bit pricey at 1,000 gold, the return on profit is tremendous and well worth the investment. Be sure to grab these seeds when you visit the merchant.
Play in the rain
Every now and then it will rain the entire day in Stardew Valley. Take this time to go explore the mines as your crops will be watered by the rain. You do not necessarily have to go mining, as fishing can be done there as well. This grants you the ability to do an activity that you do not always have the time for.
The mines will provide a lot of resources, including the ore necessary to upgrade your farm tools. You will encounter an elevator every five levels which allow you to come back to that level any time you wish. It is best to bring your pickaxe, a weapon of some kind, and food to restore energy and or health. Another good idea is to go into the mines with a fairly empty inventory. Give yourself room to bring back as much as you can.
Know your limits
The deeper you get within the mines, the better the items and equipment you find will be. With those rewards come greater risks that involve stronger monsters. Losing all your health in the mines will result in your character passing out, losing a few items and progress in the mines, along with a nice bill for your caretaking. Be careful, especially when health is low. Exit the mine if your health is too low and you have no items to replenish it with. It is better to call it a day than losing progress along with a potentially valuable item.
Summer is around the corner
When you're about halfway through the Spring, it might be time to start thinking about Summer crops. Not that the Spring crops are bad, but blueberries and melons are better money makers in the Summer. Making sure that you have enough money to start a decent sized Summer crop is something to keep in mind as you near the end of Spring.
But most important of all, have fun!
These are but a few tips for getting started in Stardew Valley. Your adventure on your new farm might be a little intimidating but with a bit of planning, you will be on your way to success in no time!