K OI SYMBOLIZE LONGEVITY, determination and fertility in Japan, and breeding these fish was once a privilege reserved strictly for Japanese aristocracy. Today, many Japanese still regard koi as precious pets and sometimes pass them down through the generations, thanks to the koi 's long life span of decades, sometimes centuries. The exotic fish are actually mutant members of the carp family and can cost more than $20,000 each (and as little as $6) at the California Koi Farms in Fallbrook
Owner Takemi Adachi learned the secrets of raising award-winning fish from his father, a renowned koi breeder who runs a similar operation in Yonago, Japan. To maintain high quality levels, California Koi Farms fish are culled by hand during their breeding season, and only 20% of the newly spawned koi are kept for resale. These traditional techniques have made it the first U.S. company to export koi to Japan.
California Koi Farms, 3360 Gird Road, Fallbrook; (619) 728-1483.