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Local apple growers say that this fall is much better than last fall for their crops — and orchard visitors who like to do their own picking seem to agree.

Throughout September, the orchards in Boston’s suburbs and countryside have been teeming with eager apple pickers.

But it’s not only about filling bags with apples at pick-your-own fruit orchards these days.

Hayrides, live animals, and farmstands selling tasty homemade wares are only the beginning of the extra attractions available at many farms.

At Belkin Family Lookout Farm in Natick, there are train rides, a moon bounce, pony rides, and face painting. At Old Frog Pond Farm in Harvard, the grounds are scattered with sculptures made by local artists. Tougas Family Farm in Northborough has wagon rides and a playground. And at Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, visitors can even mix in a wine-tasting and gourmet lunch with their apple picking.

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