In early July, the big white wooden sign was still in front of the Makielski Berry Farm on Platt Rd., advertising U-pick raspberries from early August through November 1. But by then, ninety-year-old owner Ed Makielski had already ended his sixty-five-year run as a berry farmer.

“My right-hand man went into the Navy,” he explained, with resignation in his voice when we called. “And my son passed away four years ago; I had hoped he’d be there to take over.

“I was sorry to have to close it. Time catches up, I guess.”

For generations of families, picking Makielski’s sun-drenched rows was a treasured rite of fall. Asked if there was any chance he might change his mind, he said it was too late: “The berries are already gone. A neighbor’s planted the fields with corn, beans, and wheat.”

Makielski still keeps bees and sells the raw honey from the farmhouse at 7130 Platt. Customers can also find him at the Pittsfield Township farmers’ market on Thursday afternoons.

You can still pick your own raspberries at Berry Hill Farm at 12835 North Territorial, northwest of Dexter. See their Facebook page for picking times.