This article was first written for and published by Koi Carp Magazine in 2009
For those of you who don’t already know, I have been posting on the Koi Quest Internet Forum, about the work that we do here at Cuttlebrook Koi Farm, since 2005 and we can now count many good friends amongst the members of the Forum.
Since 2006 we have been holding an annual “Koi Quest Day” which gives the members of the forum, many whom have never met before, or visited the farm, the opportunity to meet up and exchange news and views etc, and generally get to know each other better. It’s also a chance to find out a bit more about the farm, take a look at the fish that we have for sale – and maybe make the odd purchase.
We are very lucky to have the support of many of the members of Koi Quest and on the first Koi Quest Day back in 2006 we were helped by an enthusiastic group of “Questers”, who have since become known as the “Cuttlebrook Crew”. They help to make sure everyone has a great time on the day. Two of the Crew members, Steve Clarke and Bob Grinyer, ensure that there are plenty of bacon, sausage and bread rolls to go round and lots of hot tea and coffee. We also have some of the more experienced members, Bob Grinyer (multi tasking!), Chris Gabay, Gerry Sadler and Bob Hart helping to choose, catch and bag up Koi from the sales vats for their fellow Questers. Over the years, the Crew have been here to pitch in and help out with anything that is needed and their good natured banter and ready smiles create a great atmosphere on the day.
On May 17th 2009 we held our fourth “Koi Quest Day” and, as each year we try to do something a little different, this year we opened the day up to non Koi Quest members too. The British weather, often changeable in the spring, proved true to form but whilst we had a little rain to start with, by 11.00 the rain clouds moved away and the sun arrived, along with most of the Questers! Last year, for the first time, we gave visitors on the day the chance to buy a Koi from our sales tanks and put it back into one of our mud ponds to grow on for the summer. It proved a great success and so this year we did it again. Each Koi was photographed, measured and their details recorded by Quester, Des Harris, before being taken straight out to our mud pond for the summer.
There were some good choices amongst the Koi that were bought and put back out into the mud pond to be grown on including these three.
Sanke male 52 cm
Sanke female 49 cm
Shiro Utsuri Female 39 cm
These Koi are now having the time of their lives rooting around in the mud on the bottom of the pond, rummaging through the grass at the sides and swimming through a soup of daphnia and other bugs. I’ve even spotted them spawning, so they must be happy!
Our main sales area was pretty busy for most of the day and the nisai and older Koi proved very popular.
Bryn, our youngest son at 12 years old, is very keen to be involved in the work that goes on at the farm and was given the responsibility of catching, bowling and bagging some of the smaller fish. He says he wants to be the first second generation Koi farmer in the UK and if he carries on the way he is going, he might well be!
There are always plenty of Koi to choose from on the Koi Quest Day and making a choice about which one to take home can be tough. It’s important though that everyone does take their time though as we want them to be completely happy with the Koi they have chosen.
One of our younger visitors studying some of our 5 -6 inch Koi
Here, one of our Sanke is under careful consideration.
Joining us also was David Lewis (former Koi Carp Magazine editor!) who we first met when he did his work experience with us whilst studying at Sparsholt a few years ago. David went on to spend a year working at Sakai in Hiroshima and we were very lucky to have his expert help on the day.
Once again, we had another brilliant day on 17th May and we can’t wait to doing it all again next year. The owners of all the Koi that are being grown on over the summer are invited back to see the harvest of their Koi and we all look forward to the excitement and anticipation of the day as we see our Koi – theirs and ours – emerging from the mud pond on 13th September. Our next event will be our Autumn Harvest Day on 27th September when the Koi that have been growing on over the summer will be available for sale for the very first time – see you there!