We had a delightful time selecting Halloween pumpkins one year at North Star Orchards in Westmoreland--even when Beth taste-tested something she really wasn't supposed to.

Let this be a word of warning. While bending down to inspect the wares in the pumpkin patch, I noticed something growing on vines along the ground, and snapped this picture, fully focused:

Credit: Dave Coombs/TSM

There they are, in the foreground of the shot, no bigger than a large marble. They almost look like they could be miniature, unripened pumpkins. Here's a close-up:

Credit: Dave Coombs/TSM

Some are yellow, some are green and have faint stripes. Are they pumpkins? Watermelons? Gourds? Beth thought they might be tomatoes, so she picked one up and took a bite, then quickly spit it out, noting a slight fiery and burning sensation on her lips.

We threw the pictures out there on Facebook and asked if anyone knew what they are. Our friend Todd Trainham disclosed the ugly truth: those babies are evil little seed pods that eventually flower. And he included a link to this article entitled "Horse Nettle--a Toxic Cherry Tomato Imposter."

The contents can cause nausea, vomiting, and worse if ingested in large quantities, so make sure you keep an eye on the kids. And on curious adults like Beth.

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