Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My First Wheat Harvest and its Results

On the same day that I was able to harvest my second plot of fully ripened Soybeans, I made my first Wheat harvest from a plot in the Greenhouse. Regrettably, the second attempt to grow Wheat in my Field failed with the start of Winter. Evidently, the Water quotient was exceeded, perhaps by the blizzard that was visited upon me on the 1st day of Winter... as every single blade of Wheat disappeared from the field. I had at least 15 plots (each of 9 squares) that finally had reached the first stage of growth. All of them vanished as if they never had existed.

I did have the foresight to sow NEW Wheat in the Field on 30 Autumn. Wheat is one of the only Crops that can grow in your Field in Winter and as it is a very slow-growing Crop, requiring about two Seasons to mature, it is not a bad idea to sow it in Winter, so that it can be harvested on the 1st day of Summer. At least that is my plan, provided it does not receive too much water in the next two seasons. I am not going to water it myself very often and will hope that the weather is obliging.

Remember that you cannot till the soil on your Field in Winter as the ground is frozen. You must plant any Fruit Trees or Wheat BEFORE Winter arrives, by the last day of Autumn.

In the Greenhouse, on the other hand, my first attempt to grow Wheat succeeded nicely. It ripened into the final golden stage and I cut it with the Sickle, moving afterwards to a plot of Soybeans that displayed the characteristic brown pods of fully ripened beans. I have included screenshots of both here.

As explained both in my General Guide and my Farming mini-guide, you will need a Thresher if you wish to be able to use any of your Grains. What you obtain when you harvest any grain with your Sickle is 'cut' grain. The first step after cutting a grain with your Sickle is to feed it into the Thresher. What is produced then is the basic grain: Rice, Wheat, Soybean or Buckwheat. This is the raw material from which other products can be made, including Cooked Dishes and Seeds. This is the item you need to obtain from Manfred, in fact, if you wish to obtain Seeds before they have been unlocked at Chen's Shop.

The raw grain can be fed into the Flour Mill to produce Flour of various types. Rice produces Rice Flour, Wheat creates Wheat Flour, Soybeans makes Soybean Flour and finally Buckwheat makes Buckwheat Flour. It is Buckwheat Flour, in fact, that you obtain as leftovers at the Year End Festival on 30 Winter. Flour cannot be converted into Seeds, incidentally. Only the product that is created originally in the Thresher from the cut grain can be transformed into Seeds.

I have included a screenshot of the various products of Wheat and Soybeans here. On the far left, you will see the Cut Grain. The top row displays Wheat and Wheat products. The bottom row displays Soybeans. I will add screenshots for Rice and Buckwheat later.

Rice and Bread both produce one more product when a derivative of each is fed into the Flour Mill. Throw Rice Cake into the Flour Mill to produce Sweet Rice Flour. Throw Bread into the Flour Mill to produce Bread Crumbs.

The Thresher and the Flour Mill are two of the 'advanced Makers' in Island of Happiness. You need to expand your Maker Shed if you wish to order these. A basic Maker Shed will accommodate basic Makers such as the Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, Mayonnaise, Yarn and Seed Makers. The final advanced Maker is the Quality Improver Maker, and it is by far the most expensive, both in monetary terms and in terms of materials. As in many other Harvest Moon games, you must give Gannon the required amount of Adamantite if you wish to order any Maker. The amount required differs from Maker to Maker.

You will not be able to use any of your Grains without a Thresher. The Flour Maker is almost as important, although there are a few Dishes that can be made with the Basic Grain produced by the Thresher.

I hope this post will illustrate the incredible potential of Island of Happiness where farming is concerned. It may require patience and hard labour, but the rewards are delightful. It is the most sophisticated Harvest Moon farming game to date.

One final note about Soybeans. In FoMT/MFoMT, the Seasoning Set included Miso and you could use it to make Miso Soup. In Island of Happiness, you must make your own Miso. Indeed, there are a multitude of soybean-based products that can be created and used in cooking in IoH, including Tofu. There are at least half a dozen Tofu Dishes in the game.

N.B. I have added another screenshot that shows the Wheat and Soybeans when they are not yet ripe but are at the last stage before harvest. As you can see, both Wheat and Soybeans look much the same as at the final ripe stage apart from their colour. While the plants remain green, they are not fully ripe. You can harvest the Soybeans while the pods remain green, but you will obtain Edamame instead of Soybeans. Edamame cannot be converted to Seeds, and it has limited usefulness in cooking. (You can make Rice and Beans with it, for example.) Soybeans, on the other hand, are used in more Recipes perhaps than any other ingredient in this game, with the possible exception of Wheat and Rice.

FRESHNESS TIP: As you know, all items begin with the maximum Freshness of 10. As time passes, they will lose their Freshness gradually. When stored in an ordinary Refrigerator or Cabinet, items continue to decrease gradually in Freshness unless the Fridge or Cabinet is made of Mythic Stone.

You can restore Freshness to an item by throwing it into the Quality Improver Maker if you have one. As it is the most expensive Maker of all, however, you will not be able to afford one early in the game.

I have noticed something where Grains are concerned that may be helpful. Cut Grains, unlike the Grains when transformed to Flour, are stored in the Cabinet and not the Fridge. Furthermore, they appear to retain their maximum Freshness where the same Grain when transformed to the Basic Grain or Flour would have decreased in Freshness. I therefore would advise players not to convert their cut grains to the basic Grain or Flour until they actually need the product. Cut Grain ultimately will decrease in Freshness, but not as quickly as the Basic Grain or Flour made from the Grain.

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