Meet the Entrepreneurs Putting the Best of Long Island in a Box

Not even Santa could have designed a better gift for Long Islanders—near or far.

What do you get the person who has everything? The founders of LocaLI Bred have a few ideas.

When Halie Geller and Theresa Pinelli moved to Long Island with their families, they immediately noticed that Long Island had a lot to be proud of. The friends, who met through their young children, got to know the best of Long Island. They frequented farms and vineyards, ate at the best eateries, and purchased locally made goods.  

But according to the pair, despite all that it has to offer, the island still has misconceptions about it.  “We noticed Long Island had an undeserved reputation of being the land of pizza, bagels, and strip malls,” Pinelli said.  Geller, a former international trade lawyer, and Pinelli who has a background in marketing for companies like Estee Lauder and American Express, were searching for a way to give Long Island the re-branding it needed.  “We thought about the best ways to showcase what Long Island has to offer and bring it to the masses,” Pinelli said.  “We went on a journey meeting with different makers and sourcing different products and hearing their stories. We were in farmer’s backyards, at markets, and in maker’s home studios.”

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We’ve been at this Instagram thing a few months now and just realized we’ve never actually introduced ourselves! Well, what better way to say “hi” than with the goofiest pic from our photo shoot?? So “hi everyone!” We are Halie and Theresa. Halie is on the right, looking like she’s posing for the dentist. And Theresa is the one smiling through her “potty trained” 3 year old having an accident.😕 —- A bit about us: •We are both Long Island moms of two very young children. •That makes us both really care about the community (and really irritable sometimes 😀) •Theresa is an expert in small business with 16 years experience across the retail, marketing and advertising industries – most recently in small business marketing for Amex. She also holds a Pastry Arts Degree and ran a successful online baking business when she briefly lived in DC •Halie was a lawyer. You get it. —- Did we pique your interest?? You can read even more about us and locaLI bred at: https://localibred.com/pages/this-is-us — And while you’re there you can purchase a box that helps support many wonderful things on our special Island. Do it for Long Island. Do it for the local community. Do it for the children 😀… or else, Momma might not be too happy 😈 • 📷: @christopher_appoldt . . . . .

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And then: Light bulb! They landed on an idea. Meet locaLI Bred, Halie and Theresa’s brand new business venture.  

“LocaLI Bred is simply Long Island in a box. It’s a showcase of Long Island makers and artisans delivered to your doorstep in curated gift boxes,” said Geller.

Currently, you can choose from a variety of curated boxes on their site, locaLIbred.com. Whether you want to send a taste of home to a friend who’s moved away from Long Island, or bring a welcome gift to a new neighbor, there’s a locaLIBred box to fit your needs.

Just to give you a taste, here’s what’s inside the $50 “Welcome Wagon” box: Hot & Sweet nuts from Little Bird Kitchen, a travel candle from Birch & Main, Almond Honey Hop Bar Soap from What.The.Soap, a Long Island Postcard Set from Dolce Press, Seasonal Jam from Kerber’s Farm, a dark chocolate blackberry merlot bar from North Fork Chocolate Company, and lip balm from Birch & Main.  

According to Pinelli, their goal of “spreading the word about these businesses to outside of Long Island” is working. “We have shipments going to North Carolina, Washington D.C., Upstate New York, and Florida just to name a few.”

“We’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm from the hospitality industry interested in using our gift boxes as a way of showcasing Long Island,” Geller said. After seeing a huge demand from their customers, the duo recently unveiled a limited edition holiday box.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for everyone on your shopping list this season while also supporting Long Island small business owners, take a look at Halie and Theresa’s holiday gift guide:

FOR THE FOODIE:

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We’re charging ahead and putting @crimsonxclove spices in our boxes this Fall! Another GREAT local product rounded up here on the Island. Kevin and Alicia, so thrilled to have you coming along for the ride. (Sorry, ‘Whisper the Bull’ got us feeling all punny) . . . . . . . . . #smithtown #smithtownny #amityville #amityvilleny #longisland #longislandny #longislandmom #longislandmoms #longislandrealestate #longislandbusiness #spices #suffolkcounty #giftboxes #tasteny #longislandlocal #longislandliving #longislandproducers #justspices #shoplocal #shopsmallbusiness #supportsmallbusiness #shoplongisland #mompreneur #realtorgifts #bossmoms #giftlocal #giftlongisland #longislandinabox #localibred

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Pinelli:  “In our holiday box we are featuring two spice blends from the awesome husband and wife duo at Crimson and Clove based out of Amityville. One is called Gingerbread Spice, and the other is Snowflake Salt, which is a sweet and savory taste of the holidays.”

Geller: “Kerberry Jam from Kerber’s Farm in Huntington would make an excellent addition to a gift. Not only is the jam delicious, we love the story of Kerber’s Farm.  The owner Nick Voulgaris grew up going to the farm as a kid. When he heard they were going to tear it down and turn it into condominiums, he stepped in and saved it.”

FOR THE FRIEND WITH A SWEET TOOTH:

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Thursday night ‘meet & greet’ with another of the finest makers on our beautiful Island: “North Fork Chocolate” – proof that meditation can lead to inspiration … as well as Chocolate that is to die for 🤗 • Meet: For some, meditation often leads to answers and when Executive Chef Steve Amaral meditated he saw: chocolate! • Steve (a James Beard award nominated Chef and graduate of Johnson & Wales) and Ann Corley (a marketing maven with restaurant and hospitality experience) are the co-founders of North Fork Chocolate Company. Their journey began through the Stony Brook Incubator at Calverton in 2013. They traveled, promoting their products to various community events and farmers markets and operated a pop-up space at Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, NY. From there, in February 2015, North Fork Chocolate Company opened its first brick and mortar in Aquebogue, NY at the gateway to the North Fork wine trail. • Using Chef Steve’s culinary magic and artistry, he and his chocolatiers handcraft beautiful small batch artisanal chocolates and gourmet desserts using local ingredients (some grown in their own backyard). Believing in the importance of supporting the local agricultural community and the idea of farm to table, this award winning chocolatier incorporates local beer, sea salt, honey, berries, cider, wine and spirits within their proprietary blend of pure Belgian chocolate.. • Steve and Ann’s passion for all things local also extends to their retail store and art gallery where Steve’s paintings adorn the walls along with other featured local artists, and they also offer shelf space to local food artisans and crafters to sell their products. The chocolate vision Steve saw years ago was uniquely his own, but North Fork Chocolate has given us all a taste. • Greet: You can say hello @northforkchocolate . You can also find their sensational chocolate in our boxes (we double dare you not to like it!) tagged in subsequent photos. To learn more about other makers in our neighborhood visit www.localibred.com

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Geller: ‘We might be a bit biased but Theresa is a professional baker and in each of our boxes we incorporate a sample of her insanely delicious brownies and blondies.  People are going pretty crazy for them and they are actually one of our top sellers in our online marketplace.

FOR THE TEA FANATIC:

Pinelli:  “PLAIN-T, an incredible company based out of Southampton, has a huge gift selection including a really great loose tea set. Our favorite tea of theirs is passion fruit rooibois. It’s what we drink when we’re up late working packing boxes after the kids go to sleep!”

FOR THE WINE CONNOISSEUR

Pinelli: “If you’re a fan of Wolffer Wines like we are, they carry a rosé vinegar.  This would make such a great holiday hostess gift.”

Geller: “In our boxes we carry North Fork Chocolate Company’s dark chocolate blackberry merlot bar with wine that is actually sourced from the North Fork and blackberries that are grown locally. “

FOR THE BEER DRINKER:

Geller: “We highly recommend giving a gift card to Six Harbors Brewery in Huntington.  They are getting in the spirit of the season with their holiday beers, called “reinbeers.” You can choose from Blitzen, Vixen, or Rudolph.”

But for your favorite person on your shopping list, Geller and Pinelli offer this suggestion:  “Why not gift a full year seasonal subscription to locaLi Bred? That’s four boxes that are packed with seasonal tastes of Long Island. It really is the gift that keeps on giving!”

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Mia Fitzharris lives in Huntington, N.Y. with her husband and 2-year-old son. She’s a television producer who has worked at Yahoo, Good Morning America, and The Rachael Ray Show. During her time off, you can find Mia with her family on a quest to find all things delicious and fun on Long Island.