Inga Howe-Geniesse

Meet Gabrielle Fisher, Owner of Stella & Ruby

In Search of a Greener New York is an ongoing Garden Collage series of explorations about sustainability efforts in New York City and beyond– including the people, places, and ideas that are making Manhattan a healthier, happier place to live. In this column, we spotlight individuals who are making New York a “greener” place in an attempt to discover how, exactly, they are doing it. This week, GC spotlights Gabrielle Fisher, the owner of Stella & Ruby, who wants to pass her love of nature on to her kids.

When you stroll down Main Street in this old whaling town in the Heart of the Hamptons, it’s hard to miss Sag Harbor’s own Stella & Ruby, a children’s boutique with meticulously-selected fashion and toys from around the globe. Gabrielle Fisher, the shop’s owner, opened the store one year ago.

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“I grew up on a farm, here in the Hamptons, in Bridgehampton. It is, until today, the biggest farm out here, with over 200 acres,” she told us. “My father grew the main crops, like potatoes, sweet corn etc… We were outdoors all day long, summer or winter. That is what I remember. We enjoyed playing in the dirt all day, baking mud pies, and sledding down the hills on our farm in the winter.

“My mom and grandmother always had a garden where we would plant tomatoes, carrots, peas… We would learn how to establish seedlings, plant them, and then care for them until they were ready to be harvested. When I was 6 or 7 years old, my father planted me a flower garden. I remember how special I felt about this gift. Most of the flowers were wildflowers. We had a big farmstand and I remember that I started picking the flowers and creating little bouquets, and then I would put them in glass jars and walk over to the farm stand, where I sold them.”

Seattle Wildflowers

“Now, being a mom of two myself, Stella (who is 4 years old) and Ruby (almost 2), I’ve realized what an important role nature has played in my life, and I really want to expose my daughters as much as I can to it. We go over to my parent’s farm as often as we can-– rain or shine– and it is also rewarding to witness how my own children flourish out there as much as I did.

“My sister became a professional chef, so whenever she has time, she comes over to visit us and she bakes or cooks with my children, from scratch, which also is an important value to give children: understanding the process from the farm to the table.

“There are two big passions of mine: kids fashion and flowers. If I would have not started Stella & Ruby last year, I would have started to grow a flower garden again, probably specializing in peonies and creating a business around that. In fact, my husband and I just bought a house a few years ago– Once I have a little more time, I will start planting peonies with my two girls and we will establish our own little farm stand, where we will sell little flower bouquets. This is something I want to pass onto my children– the appreciation of nature and its beauty!”

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