Foraging is the skill associated with gathering wild resources found on the ground throughout Stardew Valley, and with chopping down Trees. Foraging skill also increases by harvesting crops grown from Wild Seeds.
Most forageables can be found throughout their season. One exception is Salmonberry, which can only be found during Salmonberry Season (Spring 15-18), on bushes around town. Blackberries can be found on the ground during Fall, but during Blackberry Season (Fall 8-11), they can also be found on bushes throughout town.
The quality of foraged goods comes in four levels: regular, silver, gold, and iridium. However, only players who have chosen the Botanist Profession can find iridium quality foraged goods. Higher quality goods command higher prices when the goods are sold, and deliver greater energy and health benefits when they are consumed. If given as a gift to an NPC who likes or loves it, a quality gift also provides a higher number of friendship points.
For players without the Botanist Profession, the game first tests for gold quality according to the following formula: foraging level/30. If the item fails this check, then the game tests for silver quality, according to the following formula: foraging level/15 and not gold, or (1-foraging level/30)*foraging level/15. If both checks fail, the foraged item will be normal quality.
The table below shows the probabilities of obtaining each quality of foraged goods. The column for the average sell price represents how much more foraged goods would be worth, relative to their base price, if they were sold individually. However, some of the seasonal foraged goods can be crafted into Wild Seeds, and under certain circumstances, it is more profitable to sell crafted wild seeds than it is to sell the individual items (see Spring Seeds, Summer Seeds, Fall Seeds and Winter Seeds for details).
Each skill level adds +1 Axeproficiency. Although you will not receive a notification that you have leveled up in Foraging Skill until after you go to sleep for the day, your skills menu will immediately show the level up as a red bar in Foraging Skill. The effects of leveling up are immediate.
The Tracker Profession makes spawned forageables in the current area easier to find. Small yellow arrows are added at the edge or corner of the screen that point towards each off-screen forageable (including inaccessible ones) and artifact spot. A similar small green arrow points towards any off-screen shimmering lights for panning. The tracker does not indicate berry bush locations.
Experience points (XP) are granted as follows:
12 XP for chopping down a tree with an axe (granted all at once for the last chop that causes the tree to fall).
1 XP for removing the tree stump after chopping down a tree.
The 7 XP for foraging items applies solely to those items visible sitting on the ground that are picked up only if the player clicks on them; it does not apply to items lying on the ground (e.g., dropped by shaking) that are automatically added to the player inventory by magnetism. Specific items that do grant 7 XP include:
Standard randomly-spawned foraged items throughout Stardew Valley and Calico Desert.
Certain cooked dishes will temporarily increase foraging level. Qi Seasoning can be applied to further increase the stat buff. This is useful for increasing Axe proficiency, or for harvesting more berries from each bush during Salmonberry or Blackberry season (up to a maximum of 4 berries can be harvested with Foraging level 12-13).
There is a hard limit of six standard forageable items per map (i.e., areas bounded by screen transitions) per week, reset on Sundays. Picking forageables does not reduce the weekly counter, so there is little-to-no advantage picking forageables before Saturday (the day before the reset).
Only a subset of all the tiles on each map are valid spawning locations. On most maps, forageable items can only spawn on the green (grassy-type) tiles, and in fact only on certain specific types of green tiles. The Beach and the Desert are exceptions, where spawning is possible on most yellow (sandy-type) tiles. Items never spawn in occupied locations (trees, chests, weeds, sticks, stones, etc.) They also never spawn in hidden tiles behind buildings, bushes, non-removable trees, or other permanent features. They can spawn behind removable trees (ones that can be chopped down; they also turn semi-transparent when the player walks behind them), but the spawn rate is 90% smaller in about half of the tiles behind a tree.
Therefore, the fraction of valid tiles differs for every map, which directly affects the chance of items spawning on each map. It is also affected by the player's actions. Removing debris (weeds, etc.) and chopping down trees can increase the number of valid tiles, whereas placing equipment (chests, etc.) may decrease the number. Planting trees can also have an effect: even though (on most maps) trees can only be planted in tiles where forage items can't spawn, they reduce the spawn chance in some tiles behind the tree (and also make it hard to find items that do spawn). However, these effects are generally small, unless a large fraction of the map tiles are occupied. All spawn rates are calculated assuming the default trees are in place and fully grown, but that all other tiles are cleared.
All uncollected forageable items are removed from the map overnight before Sunday morning and before the first day of a season. This cleanup applies both to standard forageable items and nearly all specialized items (fruit in the Farm Cave is the only known exception). Even non-season-specific items are removed at the start of a new season. In order to help repopulate the map, the chances of new items spawning are slightly higher on these days.
Forageable items will be destroyed if they are in the path of a villager.
Where percentages are provided for locations in the following tables, they represent the percentage of all foraged items spawned in that location that will (on average) be the specified item.
The Gatherer profession can cause some non-forage items to be doubled. When this happens, the player gains 7 XP for the duplicate item, even though the original item granted no experience. The items affected by this bug are items sitting on the ground in the Mines, namely Quartz, Earth Crystal, Fire Quartz, Frozen Tear, and Dinosaur Egg.
Other items found on the ground in the Mines, namely Red Mushroom, Purple Mushroom, and Fiddlehead Fern, are considered by the game to be forage items, so they always grant foraging experience, and any Gatherer duplication is not a bug.
↑Spawning of standard forage items is done in GameLocation::spawnObjects, which is triggered by GameLocation::dayUpdate. The six item per map limit is controlled by numberOfSpawnedObjectsOnMap. The number of attempts to add an item is a random number ranging from 1 to min(4, 6-numberOfSpawnedObjectsOnMap). For each attempt, the code checks up to 11 locations that are randomly located anywhere on the map. An item is only placed if one of those 11 locations is a valid spawning location, and if a randomly-selected forage item also passes its probability test.
↑End-of-week removal of forageables is part of GameLocation::dayUpdate. End-of-season removal is part of gameLocation::seasonUpdate. All items with the IsSpawnedObject flag are removed, and numberOfSpawnedObjectsOnMap is set to zero.
↑Extra calls are made to GameLocation::spawnObjects after clearing existing items (one extra call on the first of a season; two extra on Sunday morning). However, these extra calls frequently generate no extra items, because the same random-number seed (based on game ID and days played) is used every time. So the second and third calls retest the same list of locations and items as the first call.
↑The foraged items that can spawn in a given location each season are determined by GameLocation::spawnObjects in the game code, using input from the data file Content\Locations.xnb. The percentages provided here have been normalized to ensure that the percentages sum to 100% for each season in each location. The data was normalized by:
Calculating the sum of all percentages listed in Locations.xnb for a season
Dividing each percentage by the sum
↑See Bush::shake in game code, near variable player.ForagingLevel.
1.3.27: Breaking a regular tree stump now gives +1 Foraging experience.
1.4: Fixed bug where Foraging skill level up would cause trees to stop dropping seeds and seeds on the ground to disappear instead of being harvested until the player slept and saved the game. Changed sound when picking up forageables to a higher-pitched sound. Forester profession changed from "Wood worth 25% more" to "Gain 25% more wood when chopping."