Buyers are being sought in the UK for a melon variety that combines the traditional looks of the Galia with sweeter orange flesh.

Grown in southern Israel's parched Arava Valley, the melon - tentatively called Gal Paz -was well received by consumers during a brief trial at Marks & Spencer last year.

It is a winter melon harvested in December and January and is being marketed as a source of quality fruit during the off-season.

Grower Itai Gal said the melon was excellent quality because it is trained up wires like a vine and needs very little spraying - just fertiliser. "The problem is to tell the difference between the Galia and our melon at the checkout. The label is the only difference. People were peeling it off to avoid the 25% premium."

It has proved very popular with Israelis and Gal hopes it will replace Galia for the winter. "People want to come back to the original taste of the melon - more flavour and sugar."