For many, Stardew Valley is the ultimate comfort food of games: it’s simple, it’s easy, and players can accomplish a lot without expending a great deal of effort. Essentially, it’s the opposite of farming in the real world, as noted by a person who was a farmer in real life on the Stardew Valley forums. Players can wake up in their grandpa’s old farmhouse, find a bundle of parsnip seeds on the floor, and immediately begin hoeing and growing — but it’s not that simple for real farmers.
While Stardew Valley‘s tall trees and lush green visuals invoke scenes from the surrounding Seattle area, the town is canonically set in the Ferngill Republic, a fictional country located across the Gem Sea. The player’s farm is on the outskirts of Stardew Valley proper, and there are other, unlockable areas nearby including a desert, a quarry, Tidal Pools, and the Secret Woods.
According to user NickelPlateRoad on the Stardew Valley forums, Stardew Valley provides a familiar setting for them; something resembling the Northwestern region of the United States. However, that’s where the similarities end, because just as there are no magical sprites living in a real life community center, the ease with which users can grow crops from seed to fruition in Stardew Valley is inaccurate. Corn and cauliflower are tough crops to grow in real life, with the saying “if you can grow cauliflower, you can grow everything” being reportedly prevalent in farming circles.
Fruit trees are another inaccuracy, as an upcoming update will include banana trees which should not grow in a place like Stardew Valley according to this user. They note Stardew Valley has a strange climate for any farmer, saying, “…[it’s] a very wacky and weird climate for one region to hold the summers of El Salvador and the winters of Finland.” Fruit trees in Stardew Valley also mature at an alarming rate of about one season, but most fruit trees in the Northwest take between six and fifteen years to grow. Watering crops is another complication, as farmers must do their research and determine the watering preferences for each plant, whereas in Stardew Valley all plants require the same sprinkle from the same watering can every day. Farmers also tend to use underground watering systems rather than sprinklers or watering cans, so that the roots of the plants get the most attention.
The post is an eye-opener, as it goes into the different foods real-life animals prefer (it’s not hay) and the way pollination can affect a crop. NicklePlateRoad notes they are no longer a full-time farmer working on a full-time farm, as they sold it to travel around the world. They currently only own chickens, have a garden, and play Stardew Valley to get their farming fix.
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Source: Stardew Valley Forums