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¡Más Fresco! program benefits CalFresh families who shop at Northgate González Market

¡Más Fresco! provides rebate dollars to CalFresh recipients.
¡Más Fresco! provides rebate dollars to CalFresh recipients when they purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with the CalFresh benefits on their EBT cards.
(Courtesy of ¡Más Fresco!)

Northgate González Market is known for authentic prepared foods and carniceria, but it soon might be known for fresh produce too.

The Mexican market, with 40 locations in Southern California, has partnered with UC San Diego Health and the United States Department of Agriculture to launch the ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Program, which provides rebate dollars to CalFresh recipients when they purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with the CalFresh benefits on their Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT, cards.

“Since 2017, more than 7,000 underserved community members across Southern California have participated in the ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Nutrition Incentive Program,” Oscar Gonzalez, co-president, Northgate González Market said in a press release. “The Gonzalez family has always prioritized making our communities a priority, and with this program our qualified customers have earned over $2 million in nutrition incentives, enabling them to purchase and consume more fruits and vegetables to provide better health for low-income families.”

CalFresh participants are randomly assigned to earn either $2 in rebate dollars or $4 in rebate dollars for every CalFresh benefit dollar spent on qualifying fresh fruits and vegetables when they enroll in ¡Más Fresco!

Participants can earn a maximum of $100 per month in rebate dollars. The program’s aim is “to evaluate the effect of financial incentives on the purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables among CalFresh recipients,” according to a statement on the ¡Más Fresco! website. The program hopes to empower underserved communities by increasing their purchasing power and consumption of healthy foods as a whole.

The ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Program is a partnership between various institutions.
The ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Program is a partnership between UC San Diego Health, the United States Department of Agriculture and Northgate González Market.
(Courtesy of ¡Más Fresco!)

The program promotes healthy choices by counting a variety of whole or cut fruits and vegetables, bagged or packaged salad mixtures and garlic, onion, ginger, jalapenos, peppers and chilies as qualifying fresh fruits and vegetables. However, fruits and vegetables with added ingredients, like dressing, croutons, cheese, dips or sauces, do not qualify.

To participate in the program, shoppers must be CalFresh participants aged 18 or older and shop at a participating Northgate González Market. Participating Orange County locations include those in La Habra, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Buena Park and Placentia.

Besides the financial incentives, the program offers ongoing fruit and vegetable discounts and pricing promotions. Nutrition education is provided in-store in the form of cooking classes and store tours, designed to increase healthy-eating knowledge.

The program has run so successfully it has reached its capacity for new participants in San Diego County. Northgate Markets are continuing to enroll CalFresh participants in Orange County however, as well as in Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

CalFresh recipients can enroll in the program online at MasFresco.org.

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