Botanist or Tracker: Which Profession Is Better in Stardew Valley?

botanist or tracker which is a better profession in stardew valley

We’ve covered several professions in the past couple of Stardew Valley guides. Those professions were related to fishing skills and farming skills respectively. Today we’re going to focus a bit more on the foraging skill that allows you to choose between great professions. At level 5 you have the choice between forester and gatherer, and choosing gatherer unlocks botanist and tracker as soon as you reach level 10. Today’s guide is going to focus on those level 10 choices. Let’s see, botanist or tracker, which profession is better in Stardew Valley?

If you want to focus on making money then the botanist profession is the best choice for you. However, some players truly struggle with finding artifacts later in the game, and in that case, the tracker might offer more use. But essentially since Stardew Valley is ultimately a game oriented towards upgrading and growing your farm, botanist offers more income and this is essential for most players making the botanist profession a better and more viable choice.

Now that we’ve given you the short answer it’s time to analyze both professions in a bit more detail. In this case, the conflict stems from earning money and being able to find artifacts later on. If you’re interested in the pros and cons for both botanist and tracker professions, stay with us and keep reading!

What is the botanist profession in Stardew Valley?

Botanist is a profession that can be unlocked as soon as you’ve reached level 10 in farming skill. The botanist can be unlocked only if you’ve chosen the gatherer profession at level 5.

Botanist profession makes all your foraged items to be of iridium quality. This is the highest available quality in the game and makes all products associated with the foraged items of better quality as well.

The items that can be foraged are wild horseradishes, daffodils, leeks, dandelions, spring onions, morels, etc. All of the mentioned items (and many others) are going to be of the highest possible quality.
This affects products made out of these foraged plants as well. Making truffle oil out of iridium quality truffles will make oil of better quality and in turn, it will be worth more.

Botanist makes all forageable items iridium quality

Giving other NPCs iridium quality foraged items greatly increases relationships with them. This is an added bonus as well although not the primary reason why botanist is such a great choice of profession.

The iridium quality bonus affects the foraged items you have planted with seeds as well. This is especially useful during winter, as foraged crops will amount to a good chunk of your overall income.


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What is the tracker profession in Stardew Valley?

The tracker profession is the other choice you get as soon as you reach level 10 in foraging skills. The tracker profession makes it easier to find forageable items by revealing them on-screen with blue arrows so you don’t have to wander around aimlessly.

The tracker has little use when it comes to earning money, but it can be a great time saver when it comes to completing achievements and finding artifacts.

For players that don’t lack money and pretty much have enough income to wrap up all farm upgrades, the tracker is a perfect profession since it makes finding artifacts easier. And let’s face it most players that have maxed out everything on their farm will eventually struggle with artifacts since there’s no way to rush them per se. It’s all about luck and perhaps other buffs (like the pirate buff) that make it easier to find artifacts.

with tracker profession you will find forageable items easier

The tracker profession will save you tons of time looking for forageable items like worm tiles, truffles, and other “treasures” scattered around the world of Stardew Valley. But besides that, it has little use. And if you’re especially lucky and have no trouble locating artifacts, it has even less use.

Botanist or tracker which profession is better?

If you want to make some money in the long run go for the botanist. Iridium quality bonus on every single foraged item amounts to a lot of money in the long run, especially if you will eventually focus on crafting artisan goods.
Forageable items are not that difficult to find after all, especially if you have extra time on your hands.

Botanist or tracker

However, things change a bit once you’ve hit the late game and you have money to spare. In the late game, you might focus on collecting achievements now that money is really no issue. In that case, to save yourself some time and sanity go for the tracker. The tracker reveals locations of forageable items on the map with helpful blue arrows so you will never wander around in random directions looking for worm tiles. This will greatly affect your chances of finding artifacts especially if you have a pirate bonus from the fishing profession active as well.

How Many People Play Stardew Valley in 2023? (User & Growth Stats)

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is probably the most famous Harvest Moon clone in the world. The game has seen much commercial success considering the fact that it was developed by a single person as a side project. This open-ended game was praised for its freedom and atmosphere and well, the player count and sales reflect that. Now, more than six years after its release it’s time to revisit Stardew Valley player count and see how much interest the game still generates. Let’s take a look at how many people play Stardew Valley. 

Currently, 37,443 play Stardew Valley on Steam alone according to the data provided by Steam Charts. This number although impressive for a six-year-old game is nowhere near the peak the game has seen in January 2021 when the number of 94,479 players has been recorded throughout the month. Decreasing interest is normal and typical for a game of this type and age, the fact that the game sold 20 million copies by 2023 still makes it a commercial success and one of the best sellers. 

Now that you know how many players are still playing Stardew Valley it’s time to analyze different stats. If you’re interested in more details, stay with us and keep reading!

Why was Stardew Valley so popular?

Stardew Valley was single-handedly developed by Eric ConcernedApe Barone over the course of four years. He used a lot of fan feedback to implement some interesting additional features into the game. Somewhere in the middle of the development, he was approached by the publisher Chucklefish which allowed him to polish the game before the full release. Even though the collaboration was successful Barone eventually regained the right to publish the game. 

The game was a massive success story, all the shortcomings of the games like Harvest Moon were addressed and improved. The players praised the visuals, atmosphere, world-building, NPC depth, and overall storyline. 

Stardew valley interest over years
Stardew Valley’s interest over the years

There’s nothing better than a well-made open-ended game and Stardew Valley was exactly that. What made the game amazing also was the fact that it was for the most part designed and executed by a single person with a dream. Nowadays it’s hard to find a simulation game “top list” without Stardew Valley being on it, and Game Horizon as well covered the game and its mechanics extensively in the past.

Having said that it was expected for Stardew Valley to remain among the most played and popular games of the genre. But did it truly remain so? let’s take a look at what the numbers say.


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How many people play Stardew Valley in 2023?

At the time of the writing of this post, Stardew Valley has seen 34,494.8 players on average over the last 30 days according to the data provided by Steam Charts. These numbers, of course, speak only for the Steam version of the game so if we take all other versions and consoles that it’s available on into account the number is likely much higher. At the moment 37,443 players are playing Stardew Valley.  

While the number seems high considering the age of the game it’s nothing compared to the recorded all-time peak that happened in January 2021 when 94,479 players have been recorded to play the game over the period of that month alone. 

A more detailed trend of decreasing interest in the game can be seen in the detailed table below which shows us the data regarding player count for the period of the last six months. 

MonthAvg. playersGain/lossPeak players
Last 30 days34,494.8+21.48%59,095
December 202228,396.5+18.83%48,081
October 202222,663.5-8.44%35,033
September 202224,753.5-21.17%38,451
August 202231,402.3-19.64%46,813
June 202231,775.8+13.34%49,366

As you can see the game lost a significant number of players between the months of August and October and has just recently started to recover with November and December being positive.

How many people stream Stardew Valley?

According to the data provided by Twitch stats, at the moment of writing this post, Stardew Valley has 833 live viewers and 73 live channels streaming the game. The average number is somewhat higher standing at 1,570 average viewers over the last 7 days and 154 live streaming the related content. All those numbers amount to 263,159 hours of watched content over the last seven days. 

When it comes to popularity Stardew Valley is #113 which is an ok standing for an older game. 

This is, however, nothing compared to an all-time high that happened on June 1st, 2021 when the peak viewer count was reached amounting to 99,519 viewers watching Stardew Valley-related content. 

More detailed numbers can be seen in the table below showing data regarding viewers and channels over the period of 6 months. 

MonthConcurrent viewers averageGain/lossConcurrent streams averageGain/lossHours watchedGain/loss
January 20231.5K+6.2%149+36.7%326K-69.3%
December 20221.4K+18.5%109-4.4%1.06M+22.2%
November 20221.1K-3.3%121+9%508K-35.7%
October 20221.2K-22.4%111-21.3%790K-25.4%
September 20221.5K+2.1%141-11.9%1.06M-2.2%
August 20221.5K-35.2%160-14.9%1.08M-33.8%
June 20222.8K+6.3%189+6.8%1.98M+3.3%

The data clearly indicate a downward trend regarding interest in the game. This reflects the most drastically in the total hours watched category, the game lost more than half of the content watched in the span of the last three months.


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Will Stardew Valley be popular again?

Stardew Valley will most certainly regain a fraction of its popularity when the next content update hits the players. Update 1.6 was promised to launch before the end of 2022 and in the most recent tweet, Eric Baron announced that it actually doesn’t have a set date regarding the update only that it’s going to be out when it’s ready. 

The slow progress is nothing when you take into account the new game that Barone is working on, Haunted Chocolatier. You can read all about the new project here. Whether the game is connected to Stardew Valley or not remains to be seen. However, we can see that the style is similar and the release of the game will most likely lead to increased interest in Stardew Valley as well. 

How to Eat in Stardew Valley? Explained

how to eat in Stardew Valley explained 1

Stardew Valley is an extremely open-ended game. This means that while there are certain goals you need to reach, it’s up to you how you will do it. We’re aware by now that we can craft, build, explore, and interact with various NPCs. We can also consume various food items that we prepare ourselves our find throughout the world. Having said that, while eating is one of the options, how do you do it? In today’s guide, we’re going to cover how to eat in Stardew Valley and what are the benefits of it?

You can eat in Stardew Valley by placing a specific food item on your hotbar. Once you’ve selected a specific food item, you will have to hold that item in your hand by navigating to that item in your hotbar. Right-click anywhere on the screen while you’re holding food, and the prompt will appear asking you whether you want to consume the food. Click yes, and your energy should be refiled, or certain buffs should appear depending on what you’ve eaten.

Now that we’ve covered eating in Stardew Valley, it’s time to analyze the pros and cons. If you’re interested, stay with us and keep reading!

Do you need to eat in Stardew Valley?

Eating in Stardew Valley is optional, and you don’t really have to do it at all. However, if you decide to skip meals, you will be losing on some benefits. Eating provides you with numerous buffs, depending on what you’ve eaten, and restores energy. Energy is required to do tasks and undergo various jobs in Stardew Valley. It’s always a good idea to bring food if you plan a mining expedition or you’re planning to work on your farm the whole day.

food items
various food items in Stardew Valley

While no food meter is implemented in the game, an energy meter affects everything you do, from using various tools to interacting with the world. The main way to restore energy is to simply go to sleep, and this is not always an option since we want to utilize the day to the fullest. Having said that, we’ve got another option at our disposal, eating.


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Not all food items will have beneficial effects, some like, for example, sap, will cause us to lose energy. Eating sap is like eating poison, and it will make us weaker. The same goes for void mayonnaise.
Most food items will simply replenish our energy and health by a certain % and some will give us powerful buffs. Luck lunch, for example, provides us with +100 energy, +45 health, and a +3 boost to luck. Beat Hotpot restores +125 energy and +56 health, boosts our maximum energy for 30 points, and gives +32 points boost to magnetism.

differences in food value
differences in nutritious value between bean hotpot and fried egg

The amount of energy and health that will be restored, as well as any buff provided, depends on the ingredients required to cook the meal and the overall difficulty of the recipe.

A fried egg is relatively easy to make, and it requires only a single egg to prepare. Thus it’s not surprising that it restores only a small portion of health and energy. Tropical Curry, on the other hand, requires 1x coconut, 1x pineapple, and 1x hot pepper, but it also gives you a foraging buff and significantly more energy and health than a mere fried egg. As you can see, more effort and ingredients result in better rewards when it comes to cooking.

How do you cook and eat in Stardew Valley?

Now that we’ve covered why beneficial is eating in Stardew Valley, it’s time to cover how to do it.
You can eat in Stardew Valley by following these steps:

  1. Start by placing food items in your hotbar.
  2. Once you’ve done that, you need to select them or rather “hold them in your hand.”
  3. While holding the food item, right-click anywhere on the screen, and a prompt will appear asking you whether you want to consume the food item.
  4. Click yes. You can observe your energy and health recharging.
how to eat in Stardew Valley
eating in Stardew Valley

You can eat most crops, fruits, animal products, foraged goods, fish, etc., without cooking them first. However, in that case, you will not enjoy the full benefits as you would if you used the ingredients in a full recipe. You can unlock the full potential of an ingredient by cooking it.
You can start cooking in Stardew Valley as soon as you unlock the first upgrade for the farmhouse.

Upgrading your farmhouse will unlock the kitchen, which will provide you with a stove and fridge. A stove is used to prepare the food, and a fridge is used to store prepared food. The fridge acts like an extension of your inventory, so it means that you don’t need to place the ingredients from the fridge directly in your inventory to use them in cooking.

kitchen upgrade
Kitchen upgrade

Similarly, you can unlock a “cookout kit” as soon as you reach level 9 foraging, to cook anywhere, even while you’re on the go. To prepare food, you need both equipment and recipes. Recipes are unlocked as you progress through the game. So far, there are 80 recipes implemented in the game.


Prepared meals can serve as both nourishment and gifts for other NPCs. Certain prepared meals can significantly raise your relationship with other NPCs, depending on the quality of the meal and whether the NPC in question simply “likes” the meal or “loves” it. The quality of the meal depends on the quality of the ingredients used to prepare the meal.


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As you can see, eating and preparing food in Stardew Valley is easy, but if you plan on unlocking powerful buffs, you’re going to have to spend time and rare ingredients on it. Cooking is also used to raise relationships with NPCs, as most of them have certain meals that they like to receive as gifts. However you look at it, while it’s not obligatory, cooking and eating can only make your game easier, and besides, it adds extra realism and immersion to the game.

Forester or Gatherer in Stardew Valley: Which Profession Is Better?

forester or gatherer which profession is better

Foraging skill in Stardew Valley help you find useful materials and resources in the world. Either by picking plants on the ground or chopping down trees. What makes foraging such a great skill is the fact that you can raise it as you’re exploring the world. As soon as you reach level 5, you will have at your disposal two professions to specialize in, forester and gatherer. Both professions are great choices, but one is ultimately better than the other. Let’s see, between forester and gatherer, which profession is better?

Gatherer is a better profession in Stardew Valley. It allows you to forage more items, and thus you have more items at your disposal for cooking, selling, and gifts. As soon as you reach level 10, you can pair the gatherer with a botanist, which will make your foraged items iridium quality. Due to that, you will earn more money in the long run, especially if you have an artisan profession as well.

Now that you know which profession is better, it’s time to analyze it in a bit more detail. If you want to know how exactly gatherer leads to more money, stay with us and keep reading!

What is the forester profession in Stardew Valley?

Forester is one of the two choices you get as soon as you reach level 5 in foraging skill. Forester allows you to gain 25% more wood when chopping, and it applies to trees, stumps, and logs as well. It’s a good choice since it allows you to gather a lot of wood early game, and you know how much wood resources upgrading and improving your farm takes. It’s especially useful when you reach level 10 as then you can choose the lumberjack profession, which makes it more likely that chopping trees will result in hardwood dropping.

chopping wood stardew

Hardwood is not difficult to get, but it’s time-consuming, and you will need to make trips constantly in order to acquire it. With this profession, you will have a bigger chance to acquire hardwood in your backyard, fast. So, if you require vast amounts of hardwood for whatever reasons, you might invest in forester early on so you can take advantage of lumberjack later. Or you can use the dog statute in the sewers to change professions later when your hardwood needs rise. With everything said, forester is the first choice of level 5 profession only if you have truly specific needs when it comes to hardwood.


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What is the gatherer profession in Stardew Valley?

Gatherer is the other choice you get as soon as you reach level 5 in the foraging profession. It offers a nice 20% bonus chance at a double harvest of foraged items. This essentially means that you will have more items at your disposal for cooking, selling, and gifts. Although early-game, the yield from this profession will be somewhat small, expect an increase if you choose a botanist at level 10, this will make all your foraged items iridium quality. If you’re breeding pigs for truffles, this is a great investment, especially if you plan on choosing artisan as well as soon as you reach level 10.

gathering goods stardew

This will result in overall huge amounts of money. The gatherer profession gives you a bonus even if you grow the foraged items yourself. This means that you can grow foraged goods in vast quantities and reap the benefits of being a gatherer, as everything will have a significant chance to yield a double drop. Gatherer also applies to the items you would have found at the beach and at the mines as well. It simply affects more stuff in the game than forester.

Gatherer vs. forester, which profession is better in Stardew Valley?

Gatherer is objectively better, but there are some things to take into consideration.
If you need wood in large quantities early in the game and hardwood later in the game, you can choose forester as that’s the only thing the profession is basically good for. You won’t generate as much money with it since it’s always a bad idea to sell wood since you never know when you’ll need it. So when it comes to monetary value, the profession is good for making money but indirectly. The takeaway is to invest in this only if you need wood.
If you’re oriented more toward making money, gatherer is a clear choice through and through.

foraster or gatherer

More items mean more money and better relationships with the residents of Stardew Valley since foraged items can, in some cases, be used as gifts, or to prepare gifts. At level 10, if you choose a botanist, your items will be of the highest quality, which means even more money. If you have an artisan level 10 profession, you will need truffles to make truffle oil. If you’re keeping pigs to gather truffles regularly, the gatherer is a perfect choice since it yields more truffles as well. You can’t go wrong with gatherer professions since it affects a lot more items in the game than forester. There’s no doubt that gatherer is a better and more balanced choice between the two.


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As we’ve mentioned before, If you don’t think that gatherer suits your needs the best, and you suddenly find yourself needing lots of wood, hardwood especially. YOu can always make a trip to the sewers and activate the Statue Of Uncertainty. This will allow you to change your profession for a hefty sum of 10 000 gold. It’s not ideal, but at least you get a choice, as in you’re not locked into a profession that you consider useless. Your needs might change when compared to the early game, and it’s nice to have a choice to change your profession to reflect that.

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