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Neal Communities Sponsors Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s Farm to Fillet Luncheon at the Mote Aquaculture Research Park

Monday, February 26, 2024  |  Community, Food, Giving Back

Neal Communities, southwest Florida’s premier, private homebuilder, donated $2,500 as a Sustainable Fish Farm Sponsor of the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s Farm to Fillet luncheon. The event was held Sunday, February 11, at the Mote Aquaculture Research Park off Fruitville Road east of 1-75.

Nearly 400 guests attended the event, which included a sustainably-grown seafood lunch prepared by Chef Paul Mattison. The menu included Mote Marine Laboratory sun gold tomato bruschetta with pesto goat cheese, crostini and balsamic drizzle; Sun Shrimp gumbo with Joe Island clams and Cajun rice; blackened Pine Island red drum fish with Igor’s garden daikon slaw, Mote Marine Laboratory braised greens, roasted root vegetable puree and honey mustard vinaigrette; and apple frangipane tart with caramel anglaise.

The majority of the ingredients for the meal were harvested a mere 200 meters from where guests sat in open air for lunch. The red drum and sea vegetables were grown in Mote’s state-of-the-art, land-based sustainable saltwater aquaculture and aquaponics systems. The vegetables were also grown on the property through Mote’s Beginning Farmer Education Program in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences.

After the meal, guests were treated to a tour of the working farm and marine research park that is normally closed to the public.

Neal Communities’ teammates attended Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s Farm to Fillet luncheon held Sunday, February 11, at the Mote Aquaculture Research Park.


The Mote Aquaculture Research Park (MAP) was constructed in 2001 on two-hundred acres in eastern Sarasota County to pioneer the development of sustainable aquaculture technology to help feed the world, restock depleted species and address the need to develop a viable, domestic aquaculture industry in the U.S.

Today, MAP continues to advance this critical effort while hosting additional key components of Mote Marine Laboratory’s mission including the Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Facility, focusing on understanding and mitigating the devastating effects of red tide, and the International Coral Gene Bank, which houses more coral genotypes than any other facility in the world.

“With partners like Neal Communities, we can ensure global access to healthy and sustainable seafood for generations to come,” said Dr. Nicole Rhody, marine and freshwater aquaculture program manager and senior scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory.

With a core belief that “Where You Live Matters,” Neal Communities has given more than $8 million to local charities throughout Southwest Florida and is committed to the communities where they live, work and build. Over the years, Neal Communities has championed academic, athletic, cultural, environmental and philanthropic programs that support the arts, community, non-profit and educational organizations.

“At Neal Communities, our focus is on building communities people enjoy living in and will enjoy for years to come. Protecting and preserving our natural resources and the unique elements that make Florida special are an important part of that,” said Pat Neal, founder and chairman of Neal Communities. “Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium enriches our community and plays an instrumental role in marine research and conservation efforts. We are proud to sponsor and support their efforts.”