For some Harvest Moon games, I published a specific Shops and Business Guide. I think this might be useful with respect to Animal Parade as well actually, not simply to allow players to see what items become available at specific levels but what items are available OUT OF SEASON as well at specific levels. This is information that I find useful personally. For example, if you are courting the Wizard or some one else, like Calvin, who loves Hot Coffee, it is useful to know if you will be able to purchase Coffee Beans out of season from the Marimba Farm if your own stores run out.
Knowing that Coffee Beans are not sold at the Marimba Farm in certain seasons at specific levels may be useful information but it is not VITAL. After all, every Character has many different 'Most Favourite Gifts' in Animal Parade. The most restrictive game of all in terms of Gifts is Rune Factory 2, where there is ONE specific Birthday Gift for each Character and that item is the only one that will be acknowledged on a Birthday. Mind you, there usually are two Most Favourite Gifts even in Rune Factory 2 for each Character that will be accepted enthusiastically on every day of the year. It is only if you wish to obtain the special Birthday acknowledgement that you need to have the specific Birthday Gift in hand on the Character's Birthday.
It nonetheless interested me to discover which Crops were taken off the Menu at Level 3 at the Marimba Farm when Summer changed to Autumn. Among those that disappeared were Coffee Beans, Sugarcane and Tea Leaves. None of these are as fundamental to Cooking as Rice and Wheat, two grains that remain on the Menu once they are unlocked, but they are essential ingredients in many 'Most Favourite' Cooked Dishes. Do you need to have them in every season? Not at all. Are they useful to have? It depends on the Characters you wish to impress, and the alternative Dishes or Gifts that you can make. Sugar, required to make Cakes and Pies in the real world, is NOT an ingredient in Animal Parade in either.
One of my fatal flaws, whether in Harvest Moon or real life is collecting items. I have an almost paranoid fear of running out of necessities, based partly on the fact that I have lived in places where public transport was worse than useless without having the ability to drive. One becomes more careful not to run too low on necessities when one cannot obtain them easily or quickly. Even so, I have to remind myself frequently that not being able to cook a specific Dish at the drop of a hat in Animal Parade because one ingredient may not be available is not the worst tragedy. There is no reason why I should store every item in the game on the off-chance that I may need it to make one Dish.
I have written about this previously in terms of shipping requirements for business upgrades. There are other reasons why you need to ship items as well in Animal Parade. Your Farming Degree Title at the end of every Season depends on your Shipping Totals. Although your Encyclopedia Lists have no connection with shipping and are based simply on obtaining every item once, Farm Degree Titles are.
Another reason I wondered if a special Shops and Business Guide would be useful is the comment a player made a few days ago about the comparative paucity of Red Herbs in the Wild in the Summer Season, wishing vain for a Seed Maker... I realise now that this was my fault as, although I had the Crops and Seeds information in my notes, I had not added the Autumn Marimba Farm Menus to my General Guide yet. You CAN purchase Red Herb Seeds in Autumn, but not in Summer. I have been writing my General Guide as a Walkthrough, progressing through each Season in a natural fashion... There is so much information to add to the Guides. I felt it was best to do it chronologically rather than focusing on any specific aspect of the game and entering all information about THAT aspect instead. I make good progress with the Guides daily but it does take time.
In any event, would it be useful to have a separate little mini-guide that gives information as to the Seasons when specific items are available at the local shops as well as the levels at which they become available? The information WILL be added to the General Guide in the Shops section but sometimes the General Guide is too long and unwieldy to give quick access to information.
Actually, an alternative would be to add the information to my Items and Shipping List Guide. I believe I did that in the Official Strategy Guide for ToT that I wrote. I think that would be my own preference, to be able to look up any item in that Guide and see when and how it can be obtained, whether grown in your own field or purchased from a local Shop. The Items Guide is even more important than usual in Animal Parade because of the Trophies.
I therefore would envision an entry for Coffee Beans that gives the basic information as to cost of Seeds, the shipping values of each Rank AND the methods by which they can be obtained, whether grown in Autumn or sold by the Marimba Farm at Level 2 in Summer with the price when purchased... It adds a lot more work to my table but I think it would be a worthwhile effort.
What I would include is something rather like this for each entry:
Wheat: (Lv. 2 Crop)
Multiple Harvest Crop
Growth Rate: 5-7 Days
Wheat Seeds: 80G
Sold in Spring at Level 2 at Marimba Farm and by Tailor’s Seed Catalogue for 160G.
Eat Raw: No
Process into Flour at any Watermill
Official Description: A grain that has been grown for ages. Used to make bread and snacks.
Sold in all Seasons at Marimba Farm at Level 2 for 260G
Sold in all Seasons at Marimba Farm at Level 2 for 300G
Sold in all Seasons at Marimba Farm at Level 3 for 340G