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White Turnips are a unique type of flora present in every Animal Crossing series game to date. They can be bought from Joan every Sunday morning, before 12 p.m. Unlike other items, the price of turnips fluctuates day to day. Joan will have a different price each week, and every day Tom Nook or Reese will offer a different price for them. Their prices will differ from morning to afternoon. This fluctuation of prices is nicknamed the stalk market.
Turnips must be sold before Sunday, else they will rot, and will not be worth anything. Changing the game time and date forward will also cause spoiling, hence Joan's warning that the turnips "are highly sensitive to time paradoxes". In some games, there are glitches which prevent turnips from rotting.
Spoiled white turnips can be placed on the ground to attract ants, cockroaches (GCN) and flies (Wild World and beyond), so spoiled turnips do indeed have a use. However, like other "garbage" type items, when sold to Reese, she will charge a disposal fee of 400 bells.
Buying and selling
Turnips are purchased from Joan, a special character who wanders the town during Sunday. Joan will sell turnips at a random asking price per week, in the range of 90-110 Bells per Turnip. Unlike red turnips, white turnips can be bought in infinite quantity.
Joan will not sell turnips if the player has recently changed the game time, explaining that she is out of stock for both white and red turnips. Changing the console time directly rather than in-game can avoid this penalty, however.
White turnips are sold through the stalk market, an in-game parody of real-life stock markets. In most games Tom Nook is the middleman for the stalk market, but in New Leaf this role is replaced by Reese. As with the stock markets in real life, the stalk market's buying price for turnips fluctuates. The price changes twice a day, first at midnight, and again at midday.
Sell prices for turnips varies from as low as 15 Bells a turnip to as high as 800, but the most common is between 50 and 200. The more extreme prices can more than quadruple the player's investment, and higher prices can quickly turn several millions of Bells in a short time.
Though prices are random, there is a loose tendency for them to rise from Monday through Wednesday and then drop Thursday through Saturday.
In New Leaf, the Stalk Market can be somewhat predicted, as it follows four distinct patterns. The New Leaf patterns are as follows.
- Random - This pattern is completely random with values usually ranging from 50-200. It is easy to spot this pattern as it's unique to the other three types. However, it is unlikely you'll make a big profit with this pattern so sell on the first or second 110+ price.
- Decreasing - This pattern features values that decrease little by little each day. There are no increases whatsoever and therefore it is impossible to make a profit. The other two patterns (that aren't random) are similar to this one and so it can be hard to identify if you have this pattern or not. If the prices haven't increased on Thursday afternoon, then it is guaranteed you have this pattern.
- Large Spike - This pattern is similar to the decreasing pattern but features a sequence of 5 consecutive numbers somewhere between Monday morning and Saturday afternoon. There will be 3 increases followed by 2 small decreases, with the 3rd value being the highest. Each value increases by a large amount each time. To make a profit, sell of the 3rd increase. If you just miss it, then sell immediately as you will still make a profit, albeit a smaller one.
- Small Spike - This pattern is also similar to the decreasing pattern with its own sequence of 5 consecutive numbers. There will be 4 increases followed by 1 small decrease, with the 4th value being the highest. Unlike the large spike, each value increases by a small amount each time ranging from 1-30+ bells. To make a profit, sell on the 4th increase. Again, if you just miss it, then sell immediately.
Glitches and exploits
Time travelling consequence
When the player changes the time in Animal Crossing, Joan will arrive in town out of stock for both turnip types, a consequence for attempting to exploit time travel. A workaround for this is changing the Wii/DS time forward a minute, re-synchronizing the game time with the console time. However, to buy Joan's turnips will require waiting a week until she visits again.
Another way to avoid this is by changing the console time. Changing the console's time changes the game's time, but not the other way around so there are no consequences.
In Wild World, placing turnips on a table inside the player's house can prevent them from rotting. To do this, first the player must drop a tool in front of the table, then drop the turnip which should land on the table. If the table trick is attempted, the turnips will not spoil overnight.
Visiting other towns glitch
In Animal Crossing, if the player has turnips in their inventory and they travel on the train to a village with clock settings earlier in time than the most recent Sunday in the travelling character's town, they will turn spoiled when arriving at the destination.
In New Leaf this no longer occurs. This potentially allows for infinite profit, as two people (or one person with two systems) can, in theory, have one game with Joan currently in town and another with a high turnip price at Re-Tail (ideally 500+), and travel between the two with no consequence.